Concerned Adolescents and Teenagers in the country has advocated for non-stigmatization and discriminatory remarks against People Living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune deficiency syndrome HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in the country, calling on relevant authorities to expedite necessary actions to curb the menace.
This they believed is the reason while a lot of infected people in the country are living in the dark and the unreported wave of gender base violence (GBV) is exposing their peers to dangers in the society.
They expressed their views at the concluded training program for ‘Adolescent and Young Persons’ Campaign for 15-24 Years’ held recently in Lagos, organized by Lagos State Aids Control Agency, in partnership with United Nation Children Education Fund (UNICEF).
According to the Lagos state coordinator, Youth Network of HIV/AIDS, Population and Development NYNETHA, Lanre Babamole, said the programe is part of the organisation’s drive to create awareness about HIV/AIDS for young people in Lagos state.
He said, “It is a program target at ensuring they have access to HIV services, Information, Care and support, and also addressing Gender Based Violence (GBV), Family Reproductive health (FRH) making sure young people have access to social reproductive health services and every other related health issues affecting them across Lagos state.
“Presently we are training about thirty participants, coming from different backgrounds, communities, schools for them to go back and educate their colleagues, peers and friends on what they have learnt, as the state government is committed to achieving the 90-90-90 by 2020 initiative, making sure at least ninety percent of Adolescent access HIV/AIDS health care services by 2020.
“On the prevalence of the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Lagos, currently estimated at about two hundred thousand, the coordinator said “the state government is doing everything possible to provide care and support for all irrespective of their age.
“We still have about sixty people left to be train to fully capture all segment of the youth in the state.”
Chosen from different organisations and rural communities in the state, wards agreed it is high time government across all states take urgent steps if the war against the disease is to be achieved, adding that with the growing waves of abuses unreported, it will be difficult to curtail the spread as a lot of the infected youth prefer to remain silent.
Representing the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Lagos, Rufus Eniola, having attended the program, said HIV/AIDS is not a big deal, as can one still work, procreate and lead a normal life full of hope and aspiration, adding government needs to take action.
On his part, member, society for Information and Human Advancement Initiative, SOHAI, Oghenekome Richard, said “HIV/AIDS is a disease that can be managed by whoever that has contracted it, through taking antiretroviral drugs (ARV),so people living with it should not be stigmatize and should attract heavy punishment from relevant enforcement agencies.”