- United Nations Population Fund Nigeria has launched an initiative to help address sexual and reproductive health gaps amongst young Nigerians.
- Over 5000 people were reached with HIV testing and counselling services
- A total of 223, 023 condoms were distributed
A total of 223, 023 condoms were distributed by the United Nations Population Fund, Nigeria (UNFPA) under it’s “Wise Up Cross River” campaign at the just concluded 2016 Calabar Carnival, Calabar, Cross River state, NAIJ.com has gathered.
The initiative is said to be a response to the sexual and reproductive health gaps observed amongst young people in Nigeria, most especially in Calabar. HIV/AIDS remains a global crisis with major public health concerns and one of the leading causes of death in many parts of the world especially Africa.
Nigeria, is the second highest globally in new infections annually and according to UNAIDS, sexual transmissions account for over 70% of all new HIV infection in the country.
However, the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in Cross River state has witnessed a drastic decline from 12% in 2003 to 4.4% in 2012 and it was in this light that the “Wise Up Cross River” campaign was designed so as to sustain this trend, says Gabriel Adeyemo; a sexual and reproductive health services and commodities advocate and volunteer with UNFPA #WiseUp Campaign.
Over 5,000 persons were reached with HIV testing and counselling services while 219, 739 male condoms and 2,284 female condoms were also distributed during the Carnival which lasted through December 2016.
According to UNFPA Nigeria, the motivating notion of “Wise Up” is to admonish young people to be “smarter” in a world of HIV with their sexuality whilst being mindful of the challenges of HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy in the country.
“Wise Up is also a wakeup call to young people to contribute meaningfully in the HIV response through behavioral change communication and appropriate demand for reproductive health commodities. The objective of the initiative is to increase the proportion of adolescents and youths with comprehensive knowledge of HIV, increase the proportion of young people who tested for HIV and knows their status, increase the proportion of young people who consistently use a condom with regular or non-regular partners, and also reduce the proportion of youths who have more than one sexual partner.”
About 170 persons were also innovatively empowered through active participation, being peer educators, HIV counselors, testers and mobilizers, condoms promoters, monitoring and evaluation officers, and media influencers.
Meanwhile, Malam Barkindo Saidu, says 512 new cases of HIV infections have been recorded in Internally Displaced Persons camps in Borno.
The Executive Secretary, Borno Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, spoke on Sunday, December 4 in Maiduguri while briefing journalists.