Any HIV control programme without the inclusion of adolescents and young people would not be beneficial to them, the Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Gambo Aliyu, has said.
He stated this during an adolescent and young people’s programme organised by the agency to commemorate this year’s World AIDS Day in Abuja.
He enjoined adolescents and young people to get tested to know their HIV status, adding that “without tests, we will not know who needs to go on treatment to control the virus or has the potential of giving the virus to others.
“Until we get the people who have this virus in them and prevent it from infecting others, we cannot control HIV and end AIDS by 2030,” he said.
Dr Emeka Anoje, Project Director, CDC Faster Project, said there was a need to deliver HIV services in such a way that they are attractive and accessible to adolescents and young persons.
He advocated for the active involvement of adolescents in the design of the programmes, as well as factoring their unique vulnerabilities such as the extension of clinic hours beyond school hours and to weekends.
He said that is important as adolescents and young people contribute disproportionately to the new cases of HIV infection in the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Megida Blessing, a student of Garki Model Secondary School, Abuja said she learnt how to protect herself from HIV and COVID-19 during the programme and called on the government to continue to encourage youths to stay healthy.