Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative
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YEDI's Executive Director, Oje Ivagba at the HIV-Aware Media Launch in Lagos on Sept. 20

As a targeted response to the 2018 Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) that revealed, among other things, increased incidence of HIV infections amongst young people in Lagos State, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Lagos State Government through selected state ministries in conjunction with some development partners have launched a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in Lagos. Tagged HIV-Aware and implemented by Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (YEDI) - an adolescent health and life skills development organisation, the campaign which is supported by Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), and Hacey's Health Initiative (a health and productivity NGO), was flagged off with a media launch on Friday, September 20, 2019 at Amber Residence, GRA, Ikeja, and aims at creating heightened awareness on the HIV prevalence in Lagos targeting targets young people especially females aged 15-24, in selected communities, as well as offering them an opportunity to gain actionable knowledge on healthy sexual and reproductive health behaviours, access HIV Counselling and Testing and receive referrals for required treatment. 

Speaking at the media launch, the Officer in Charge, UNFPA Lagos Dr. Audu Alayande noted that the recent NAIIS report calls for an ‘aggressive response’.  “With all the progress made with the HIV response nationwide, 7 states including Lagos account for 50 per cent of the national burden, while the incidence in females is significantly higher than in males – both among adolescents and young adults aged 15-24 years, thus the need for an aggressive response in the state especially among adolescent and young people,” he stated.

In his keynote address, Mr. Oduntan Bankole, Director Development Partnership, Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budgeting, stated that the number of infections among young people has increased since the last survey conducted in 2010, hence the need for the campaign. On some of the possible factors responsible for this high incidence on the part of young people, the Assistant Director, HIV Desk of the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Mrs Fibisola Taiwo cited the adventurous nature of adolescents and poor parenting.

YEDI’s Executive Director, Oje Ivagba, noted that the campaign which targets young girls in selected disadvantaged communities in Lagos will be deploying the organisation’s adolescent-specific and evidence-based fun, interactive, and engaging approach to drive home the message and engender behavioural change. “This project targets girls, and we will be working with them within their communities, engaging with then in fun ways and conveying up-to-date HIV prevention-and-treatment messages to them thereby equipping them with relevant information to make the required positive steps to lead healthy lives,” he remarked at the media launch.

This phase of the campaign targets 1500 girls with a minimum of 1000 of them knowing their HIV status by accessing the free HIV counselling and testing component of the project, and begins on Monday, September 23 through September 30, 2019, across the following locations:

Onala Field, Lagos Island and Oworonsoki Youth Center (Monday, September 23); Ibeshe Boys Scout Field – Ikorodu and Islamic Field, Abaranje, Ikotun (Tuesday, September 24); Epe Youth Center (Wednesday, September 25); Obele Youth Center – Surulere and Oshodi Youth Center (Friday, September 27); Mushin Youth Center  and Ayobo Youth Center (Monday, September 30)

Follow the conversation online using the hashtag: #IamHIVAware

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