Following claims that young people are underrepresented in development programmes including HIV prevention programmes, youth advocates in Nigeria have called on the government and other stakeholders to create programmes and interventions for young people living in marginalised communities.
The call was made at a one-day Community Outreach held in Alimosho LGA for young people living in marginalised communities in commemoration of International World AIDS Day organised by the United Nations Population Fund Youth Participatory Platform and the Lagos State Government.
The Representative of the Medical Officer Health, Ikotun PHC, Dr. Kafilat Sangoleye said the communities have a major role to play in the HIV response.
“They must be educated on preventing the transmission of HIV and be able to access treatment. Youths are vulnerable especially those in marginalised communities. We need to provide them with the right information to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing,” she added.
Speaking also, a member of the UNFPA Youth Participatory Platform, Ms. Blessing Ashi, highlighted the importance of community outreaches and interventions for young people. “It provides them with accurate information on sexual reproductive health and rights which includes HIV/AIDS”.
She added that young people were susceptible to sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS especially when they have no access to information. “That is why we have the ‘Hello Lagos Youth Centers’ where young people have access to information free of charge and without judgement”.
With about 200 young people pulled from different areas in Alimosho, the programmes was split in two segments. Participants were enlightened on preventing the transmission of the disease.
Other topics treated were on: life skills like communication, negotiation, self-esteem, assertiveness, and goal setting.
To further help with their HIV/AID status, about 120 youths were screened for HIV test.