KDSG, UNICEF Engages 624 Adolescents for HIV Intervention Implementation

By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna

As part of strategy to effectively ensure that young people in Kaduna state participate in the recent expansion of HIV intervention programme for Adolescents and Young People (AYP), the state government with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday selected 624 young persons to implement the programme.

The AYPs, who were selected from the 7 LGAs implementing the programme, had 8 representatives each from 78 wards, which are expected to serve as demand creators, testing and counseling officer in the 6 months intervention programme.

The program which is aimed at scaling up HIV combination prevention, treatment and care services for AYPs in 7 LGAs of the State, kicked off on Monday with awareness creation for the youths.

Addressing newsmen at one of the selection venue in Rigachikun, Igabi, LGA, Deputy Director, Prevention, Treatment, Care and Psychology of the Kaduna State AIDS Control Agency (KADSACA), Catherine Ayuba, explained that despite the initial sensitisation, the selected candidates would still have to be scrutinized through various tests before they will be deployed to the field.

She said more trainings and sensitisation workshops will be conducted for them in few days time to properly educate and inform them, as many of them do not yet understand what HIV is and how it can be contacted.

“By tomorrow, we are going to sensitise them again about the AYP programme, and after that, there is going to be a workshop to further train and educate them on how to carry out the AYP activities in their various wards.” She added.

About 18,000 AYPs in Kaduna state are said to be currently living with HIV according to KADSACA, this, officials says has made it a necessity for the state to expand the intervention programme to reduce the high level of HIV prevalence among young people.

And using the young group, themselves was the best strategy in getting them to access the services that will be made available in different healthcare facilities across the 7 LGAs which are going to be adolescents friendly.

Danladi Garba is a focal person in Igabi ward who equally participated in the AYP training in the community. 

He commended the organizers of the AYP project for finding their local government area worthy of the training. 

According to him, so far 10 Youth have been selected to participate in the project after which they will return to educate their peers on ways to protect themselves from HIV. 

” The training has really open the eyes of our people on how  to protect ourselves from the disease, especially the yourh. As you know our people are ignorant and majority are not aware of how to  protect themselves. 

“With the training our youth would be able to protect themselves and others too, by encouraging their peers to always access facility so as to know their HIV  status. 

“People here do discriminate among HIV persons by not eating or sitting close to them. So, this project will surely address such issues not only among AYPs but among the elders too,”he said. 

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