Nigeria: Over 2m Youth are Ignorant of their HIV status -Data

Nigeria: Over 2m Youth are Ignorant of their HIV status -Data
Nigeria: Over 2m Youth are Ignorant of their HIV status -Data

A data from the state AIDS Control Agency has said that no fewer than two million Adolescents and Young People (AYP) in Kaduna State are ignorant of their HIV status. Mrs. Catherine Ayuba, deputy director, Prevention, KADSACA, released this data, she however said that the Agency had reached over 289, 853 AYPs from 2017 to date. She added that of the total number of those reached by the agency, 7, 327 tested HIV positive and were placed on treatment. Ayuba stressed that the agency is still involved in massive campaign to encourage adolescents and young people access HIV testing and services.
Some of the AYPs in Kaduna, however, said that they had no time to subject themselves to any HIV test. One of them, Kolawale Sengunle, acknowledged that he did not know his HIV status, but argued that “there is no need because I am confident that I am negative. He said, “I don’t have a girlfriend and do not live a promiscuous life; I know much about HIV, so believe me when I said I am negative.” Segunle said he would only go for HIV test if the service was brought to his door step, adding that for now, he has no time to go to hospital just for HIV test.
A young girl, Victoria Peter, also said she had never gone for HIV test and has no intention of doing so, arguing that only the promiscuous ones go for testing and I am not one of them. For Patrick Ajayi, he said, “people are scared of going for HIV test because of the belief that a person would die early if the result turn out positive.Ajayi said, I have never been tested and I do not think I will want to because I am confident I am negative, besides I do not want to die before my time. If I go for testing and it turned out positive, I will die of frustration.”
Similarly, Ahmed Abdulsalam, who also never tested for HIV, said he avoided going to health center for testing so as not be labeled as a HIV carrier.
An expert, Dr. Idris Baba, HIV/AIDS Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna, expressed concern over the nonchalant attitude of adolescents and youths in the state in knowing their HIV status. He said that the attitude has led to prevalence of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases among AYPs in the state and across the country. Baba described AYPs as persons between 10 and 24 years of age, characterized by rapid physical growth and development as well as sexual maturation. According to him, youths and adolescents constitute 33 per cent of the population of the state and are most at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Baba said, “It is a period that can be marked by the need to try out new things such as sex, experiment with injectable drugs among other risk behaviors. As a result of engaging in these high risk behavior, there has been an upsurge in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases among AYPs in Kaduna and the country at large.”
He also noted that only a few youths knows their HIV status in the state and stressed the need for concerted efforts in proving sexual and reproductive health information and services targeting the AYPs.
Kaduna State Government and UNICEF had in June 2017 launched HIV intervention plan, as part of efforts to address the prevalence of HIV among AYPs. The intervention, aimed at curbing HIV prevalence among adolescents and young people, was targeted at seven local government areas with high percentage of HIV cases, namely: Chikun, Lere, Kagarko, Birnin Gwari, Jema’a and Jaba.

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