…as HIV-Aware campaign flags off
By Chioma Obinna
The Officer in Charge, United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA Lagos, Dr. Audu Alayande has said that with the progress made with the HIV response nationwide, seven states including Lagos account for 50 percent of the national burden of HIV while the incidence in females is significantly higher than in males – both among adolescents and young adults aged 15-24 years.
Meanwhile, as a targeted response to the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, NAIIS, that revealed that also in Lagos, increased incidence of HIV infection among young people, UNFPA in collaboration with the Lagos State Government through selected ministries and development partners weekend launched an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign entitled: “HIV-Aware.
The campaign will be implemented by Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative, YEDI, – adolescent health and life skills development organization with support from the Lagos State AIDS Control Agency, LSACA, and Hacey’s Health Initiative.
According to NAIIS, Nigeria’s National HIV prevalence is 1.4% among adults aged 15–49 years, women aged 15–49 years are more than twice as likely to be living with HIV than men (1.9% versus 0.9%.)
Speaking during the official launch of the programme, Alayande said the recent report of NAIIS calls for an aggressive response in the state especially among adolescent and young people.
The HIV-Aware campaign is aimed at creating heightened awareness on the HIV prevalence in Lagos targeting young people especially females aged 15-24, in selected communities, as well as offering them an opportunity to gain actionable knowledge on healthy sexual and reproductive health behaviours, access HIV Counselling and Testing and receive referrals for required treatment.
The Director, Development Partnership, Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budgeting, Mr. Oduntan Bankole decried the increasing number of infections among young people since the last survey conducted in 2010, hence the need for the campaign.
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On possible factors responsible for the high incidence among young people, the Assistant Director, HIV Desk of the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Mrs. Fibisola Taiwo cited the adventurous nature of adolescents and poor parenting.
YEDI’s Executive Director, Oje Ivagba, noted that the campaign which targets young girls in selected disadvantaged communities in Lagos will deploy the organisation’s adolescent-specific and evidence-based fun, interactive, and engaging approach to drive home the message.
“This phase of the campaign targets 1,500 girls with a minimum of 1000 of them knowing their HIV status by accessing the free HIV counselling and testing component of the project, and begins September 23 through September 30, 2019.
Some of the communities we will be working includes; Onala Field, Lagos Island and Oworonsoki Youth Center (Monday, September 23); Ibeshe Boys Scout Field – Ikorodu and Islamic Field, Abaranje, Ikotun (Tuesday, September 24); Epe Youth Center (Wednesday, September 25); Obele Youth Center – Surulere and Oshodi Youth Center (Friday, September 27); Mushin Youth Center and Ayobo Youth Center (Monday, September 30)