February 2, 2023

The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has revealed that over 7,600 new HIV infections that happened in young people in 2021, 6,800 were girls.

The Health Manager/AYP National Team Lead, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Nigeria, Dr Victoria Isiramen said this during a youth dialogue in Abuja in commemoration of the 2022 World AIDS Day.

At the event, stakeholders in the health sector called on the government at all levels to prioritise investment in adolescents and young people to reduce infection of HIV/AIDS.

Speaking at the event, IsL source, Nation Online reports that Dr Isiramen noted that looking at the national HIV/AIDS response in Nigeria, there was a need to prioritise the response to address key issues affecting young people in the age group of 10-24 years.

Isiramen called for meaningful engagement and participation of young people, adding that no one is too young to engage.

According to her, Nigeria as a nation should invest more in adolescent and young people’s response.

She said: “We have about 70 million of this group of Nigerians, and that is a huge population. They have a peculiar character, they are young, they are growing, they need to be empowered, and this is their formative years.

“So if we want a generation and a future that is secure, we need to invest in these people, it has to be multi-sectoral. Yes, we are talking HIV, but HIV is a multi-sectoral issue, when you put girls in school, it reduces their vulnerability to HIV and other sexual reproductive health risks.

“Nigeria has a strategic HIV plan, and in that plan, there are two big strategic thrusts. One is to reduce or ensure zero new infections, zero stigmas and discrimination, and the group of people that should be focused more on our young people, because if you reduce the infections in young people, especially the girls, because our data is showing us that of the 7,600 new infections that happened in young people in 2021, 6,800 of them are girls.”

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