Youths are calling for more HIV responses in marginalised Nigerian communities

Picture used to illustrate the article (guardian nigeria)
  • Nigerian youths clamour for more interventions in HIV responses for young people living in marginalised communities.
  • The United Nations Population Fund Youth Participatory Platform made the call as a Community Outreach, commemorating 2019 World Aids Day in Lagos.
  • UNAIDS and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS estimate 1.9 million people living with HIV in Nigeria.

Nigerian youths have called on the government and other stakeholders to consistently create programmes and interventions in HIV responses for young people in marginalised communities.

On December 1st, 2019 the world showed support for people living with HIV and remembered those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses with the theme, “Communities make the difference.

In Nigeria, the United Nations Population Fund Youth Participatory Platform in collaboration with the Lagos State Government, organised a-day Community Outreach last week to commemorate the day.

At the event, the Representative of the Medical Officer Health, Ikotun Primary Health Centre (PHC), Dr. Sangoleye Adebimpe Kafilat explained the importance of communities in HIV response.

Dr. Sangoleye said, “stakeholders in the community must be educated on the ways to prevent the transmission of HIV and also be able to access treatment.

“We need to provide vulnerable young people especially those in the marginalized communities, with the right information to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.”

The essence of the community outreach is to provide young people with accurate information on sexual reproductive health and rights including HIV/AIDS, Blessing Ashi, a member of the UNFPA Youth Participatory Platform, said.

She added that young people are susceptible to sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS especially when they don’t have access to right information and that is why we have the Hello Lagos Youth Center with access to free information.

Business Insider SSA gathered that the programme attracted about 200 young people from different areas in Alimosho Local Government Area – the largest community in Nigeria's commercial nerve center. Sessions were divided into two; the first session by dwelled on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) where the girls were taught ways to prevent HIV transmission, and how to protect themselves while the second session based on life skills like communication skills, negotiation skills, self-esteem, assertiveness, and goal setting.

HIV testing was conducted for about 120 young people during the day.

Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first-ever international day for global health. Every year, United Nations agencies, governments, and civil society join together to campaign around specific themes related to HIV.

In her remarks, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima, commended community members, especially women, in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the world.

“..without communities, 24 million people would not be on treatment today. “Without communities led by women living with and affected by HIV, we would not be close to ending new HIV infections among children, raising orphans and caring for the sick,” she added

Byanyima described communities as the cell that make change happen.

In March 2019, the result of a joint survey conducted by the government and development partners indicated that national HIV prevalence in Nigeria dropped to 1.4% among adults aged 15–49 years compared to 2.8% of previous estimates.

UNAIDS and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS also estimated that there are 1.9 million people living with HIV in Nigeria.

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