The Aids Healthcare Foundation in Abuja Nigeria’s capital, has flagged off a “Girls Act Campaign” which it says will empower young girls to take precautions against HIV.
Ms Kemi Gbadamosi, Senior Manager, Public Relation and Communications of the foundation said the campaign became necessary because 380,000 new HIV infection occur annually among young women and girls globally.
“Statistics from UN reveal that about 380,000 new infections occur annually among young women and girls of 15 to 24 years in Sub-Saharan Africa…also about 1 in 3 women and girls have suffered some form of sexual or gender based violence which is an alarming statistics by any standard,’’ she said.
Gbadamosi said through the campaign, young girls will have given life-tips personal hygiene, menstrual hygiene and psycho-social services while also providing HIV testing facilities for the girls.
According to her, “the campaign has two objectives which include keeping young women and girls who are negative to remain negative and those who are positive live a life of dignity…as well as create a friendly environment for young women and girls and to bring the services closer to them because they don’t go to health facilities.’’
She urged the Federal Government to make available youth friendly centres in every state, driven and led by young doctors and nurses who could relate freely with the younger population.
Gbadamosi added that more funding and safe programmes should be provided to make youths more comfortable and safe about their reproductive health.
UNAIDS new report Get on the Fast-Track: the life-cycle approach to HIV showed that young women were increasingly at the risk of contracting HIV.
The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé. Sidibé said “Young women are facing a triple threat,” adding that “they are at high risk of HIV infection, have low rates of HIV testing, and have poor adherence to treatment.”
He said “the world is failing young women and we urgently need to do more.”
The report however showed that countries are getting on the Fast-Track, with an additional one million people accessing treatment in just six months (January to June 2016). By June 2016, around 18.2 million [16.1 million–19.0 million] people had access to the life-saving medicines, including 910 000 children, double the number five years earlier.
oThe report said if these efforts are sustained and increased, the world will be on track to achieve the target of 30 million people on treatment by 2020.