Executive Director, Centre for Population and Environmental Development, Prof. Andrew Onokerhoraye, has expressed concern over the inrease in the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus infections among younger Nigerians, particularly in Edo State.
Onokerhoraye, in a paper titled ‘Young People at Risk of HIV/AIDS in Edo State: What should we do?’ delivered in Benin on Thursday, called on the Federal Government to increase budgetary allocation to combat the dreaded disease.
The occasion was the presentation of the African Journal of Reproductive Health, published by Women’s Health and Action Research Centre.
Onokerhoraye said more concerted efforts were required from the governmnent in order to increase HIV/AIDS awareness programmes among youths, saying recent increase from N2bn to N5bn for intervention measure against HIV/AIDS, was inadequate.
Faulting measures put in place to combat the HIV/AIDS menace by the government, Onokerhoraye, a former Vice Chancellor of University of Benin, said, “Even the insignificant fund was difficult to access for programmes.”
He added that a lack of political will on the part of appropriate government ministries to mobilise programmes in and out of schools in different parts of the country constituted a major challenge to awareness campaigns in Nigeria.
He said data from the National HIV/AIDS showed that among the sexually active category of between the ages of 15 and 19 years, only 34.4 per cent used condom at their most recent sexual encounters.
“Another survey found that among those of 13 years, over a quarter of a sample of secondary school students in some parts of the country had had sexual intercourse,” he added.
He added, “Evidence of unmet need is reflected in research that confirms that some young people have a poor understanding of the reproductive process, others harbour misconceptions.
Research in Nigeria also confirms that many young persons participate in risky sexual activities, including early debut in sexual activities, sex with many partners, low and inconsistent use of condoms.”