50% Of Nigerians Living With HIV Are Adolescents – UNICEF
The United Nations Children Education Fund ( UNICEF ) said on Wednesday that 50 per cent of the 3.1 million Nigerians living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are adolescents, ranging from the age 15 to 24.
The Officer in-Charge of UNICEF Field Office in Kaduna, Dr. Idris Baba, made the disclosure at a one day retreats with journalists to support adolescents and young persons.
Baba said as the HIV prevalence rate is on the decline among adults, “it is unfortunately on the increase among adolescents.”
“HIV in adolescents remains a big concern, at least seven local government areas – Chikun, Igabi, Lere, Kagarko, Birnin Gwari, Jaba and Jema’a – have higher prevalence of HIV among adolescents in the state,” Dr. Baba said.
He said the organisation has scaled up support to tackle high HIV prevalence among adolescents in the seven LGAs.
According to him, only seven per cent of the adolescents surveyed at the beginning of the intervention programme in March had tested and received their HIV result.
He said the support being offered by UNICEF was on HIV prevention, treatment and care in the affected LGAs.
The official disclosed that UNICEF had budgeted about N200 million to run the Adolescent and Young Persons (AYP) programme in the LGAs.
He said despite the decrease in new HIV infections in the areas due to improved access to information, the rate of death among infected adolescents remained high.