UNICEF Raises Alarm Over The Increase In HIV/AIDS Among Adolescents & Youths

…78% of children living with HIV/AIDS are not receiving HIV Treatment

By Lola Seriki- Idahosa, Kaduna

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has raised alarm over the increase in prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS among adolescents and youths in kaduna state.

In a one day media dialogue with online publishers, media executives, reporters and producers in kaduna state on Adolescents and young persons (AYP) support, held at sleeprite hotel Zaria.

In a paper presentation, understanding child protection issues in accessing care/support for Adolescents living with HIV/AIDS by Faruk Abdullahi Chiromari From the global Advocate for peace and social justice (Child Protection Expert) said Over 22 million people living with HIV are still not accessing antiretroviral therapy.

According to him, “the proportion of people who do not have access to treatment are 58% in the South Africa, 64% in India and 80% in Nigeria”

“Lack of access to antiretroviral therapy remains a cause for concern, 76% of child living with HIV/AIDS are not presently receiving HIV’s treatment”

He however highlighted  four reasons why adolescent girls and young women are left behind: Gender-based violence, Lack of access to health services, Lack of access to education and Policies that do not translate into action.

The only way to close the gap is ending all forms of gender based violence, ensuring access to quality health services, keeping girls in school and also empower young women and girls and challenge and change social norms.

Also speaking is Dr. Baba Idris, office in charge  UNICEF kaduna field office said HIV in adolescents remains a big concern; the seven LGAs have higher prevalence of HIV among adolescents in the state.”

He said the organisation has scaled up support to tackle high HIV prevalence among adolescents in seven local government areas of Kaduna State.

According to him, only seven per cent of the adolescents surveyed at the beginning of the intervention programme in March had tested and received their HIV result.

He explained that the support being offered by UNICEF was on HIV prevention, treatment and care in the seven local areas.

Highlighting His paper title situation of HIV & AIDS in kaduna state, he noted that in spite of the decrease in new HIV infections in the areas due to improved access to information, the rate of death among infected adolescents remained high.

The official stressed that the main objective was to raise AYP access to HIV testing from 20 to 40 per cent by the end of the intervention programme in May 2018, and increase condom usage among adolescents from 30 to 50 percent in the seven local areas.

He said that the programme was also aimed at raising the use of anti retro viral therapy from one to 21 per cent among HIV positive persons and increase the number of schools providing Family Life Health Education from the present 25 per cent to 45 per cent.

noted that UNICEF has trained no fewer than 1, 300 persons to facilitate the success of the programme in all the local government areas.

According to him, the programme has helped to achieve 52 per cent awareness on HIV due to improved access to information among adolescents in the seven local areas, while the number of those who had tested had gone up to 46.6 per cent.

Other papers presented includes scaling up social media content for AYPs to leverage airtime and space by Tosin Akingbulu, Situation of HIV AIDS in kaduna state. Review of media Activities on Adolescents in 2017. Group works and presentation.

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