Youths Laud UNICEF for HIV/AIDS Sensitization, Testing, Counseling
By Victor Habila, Kaduna
Adolescents and Young Persons in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State has commended the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), for their consistency in organizing HIV/AIDS campaign to sensitise and conducting free test and counseling for them.
The young people who came out in their numbers to participate in UNICEF organized outreach on Sunday and Mando Community in Afaka Ward, to commemorate the World HIV/AIDS day 2019, said the are now bold to declare their status in public.
Some of the young persons who Spoke with our reporters said UNICEF, has made them to understand that living with HIV is not a death sentence and that there is need for every young person to know their status and also chose the best way to live their lives.
According to 20 years old Aliyu Dalhatu, a student of Junior Secondary School, Sabo Afaka, he is confident that his result will remain negative because he has been doing his test whenever the do their outreach.
He added that with his knowledge of HIV he has learned over time from UNICEF’s campaigns, even if the turned out the other way round he is not afraid rather it will help him to know how he will be managing himself henceforth.
“Even if the result is somehow, I won’t feel bad about it, all I need to do is to consultant the doctor to advice me on the way forward because and how is can be on medication.” He said.
A female SS3 student of Kudus International School, Asmau Tukur, who has been to so many HIV sensitization organized by UNICEF and other organizations, said she has nothing to fear about HIV because she has been very careful.
The 19 years old Asmau, explained she normally takes advantage of any opportunity for her to check her status because sometimes you can’t just tell. But that as long as she does not have sex and don’t share sharp object, nothing will ever make her have anything to do with the virus.
On the contrary, Fatima Ahmed, a 17 years old SS3 student of Government Secondary School, Mando, believed that even though she have been sharing sharp objects with her family members, there is no need to be afraid of contracting HIV because no one is positive in her house.
Fatima, said after listening to the counselor testers, she now sees the need not to share sharp object and also pledged to go back home to sensitise her father and other siblings and to also that each person is provided with the equipment.
Another Fatima, but this time Abubakar Fatima, who is one of the UNICEF Adolescents and Young Persons (AYP) project Demand Creator, said since the last 4years when she started working with the HIV team, she has succeeded in mobilising over 3000 young people to know their status.
“My peers listens to me whenever I talk to them, because they know that anything they discuss with me will remain confidential. If I enter their family houses, I first take permission from their mothers to talk to them and straight away I tell them the importance of them knowing their status and why they should do the test.” She added.
On his part, Lukiayus Kenneth, a Volunteer for the AYP project stated that despite the sensitisations, lukewarm attitude by some young people is still an issue for serious concern.
Kenneth, who started working as Counselor Tester since 2017, said there are still so many young people who dont allow the test even they are free. He said some of them will argue for long yet they will refused to be convinced, rather they will be requesting for condoms without testing their status.
“Sometimes when you meet them for the first time you will be shocked about their perception of HIV, they get afraid, but we try our best in telling them the benefits of knowing their status and the dangers of not doing the test.
“But reluctantly some of them will accept the test, but we kept telling them that even if they have the virus, it is not a death sentence. We also inform them that those living with the virus are not different from those who are not, as long as they are taking their medications regularly.” He explained.
Ashafa Hayatu, another Demand Creator, who has been doing it for over 2years, explained that because of the confidence reposed in him by his clients, most of them come to his house to discuss their personal issues.
“The AYP project has brought me very close to the grassroot, because of my relationship with them, i talk to them freely at any point and when the have personal issues, they come to me because am always polite in dealing with them.” He added.