HIV/AIDS, STDs: NGO Advocates Accurate Information For Young Adults

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    Nigeria

    By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna


    A Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Eagles Lead Development Initiative, on Monday called for more access to information on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, to reduce risk of infection among young people.

    Executive Director of the NGO, Peter Ezekiel made the appeal at a community engagement with adolescents on prevention of COVID-19,  Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, in Kaduna.
    Ezekiel said adolescents need to understand the transmission risks, so as to avoid risky sexual behaviour and embrace good sexual and reproductive health.
    “Research has documented that 7-34 per cent of girls and 3-29 per cent of boys have experienced sexual abuse.
    “The most frequent victims of coerced sex are adolescent girls.“Sexual abuse can happen inside the home, it can be perpetrated by a partner, family member, a friend or stranger,” he noted.
    Ezekiel advised parents to teach young persons on exercising their right to grow up and live in an environment free of physical and sexual violence.
    He said adolescents are vulnerable to sexual transmitted disease because the female genital track is not fully matured and is biologically more susceptible to STIs than older women.
    “Females often do not show signs or symptoms of chlamydia and gonorrhea, so infections may go untreated, increasing risk of acquisitions,” he said.
    According to him, adolescents often lack basic knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases, their symptoms, transmission and treatment.
    “Adults are often uneasy talking with adolescent about STIs and sexual health, they often think adolescent should not be having sex in the first place.
    “Therefore, this programme is for the youths to break their silence and start voicing out or reporting cases of violence around them.
    “We want to strengthen reporting system and break silence of community members as well as prevent COVID-19 infection and other sexually transmitted diseases,” he said.
    The  programme is a UNFPA program, supported by Education as a Vaccine (EVA) and  African Network of Adolescent and Young Persons Development (ANAND).
    The project is working to reach about 10 communities in Kaduna North and Kaduna South LGAs with education around COVID-19, Gender Based Violence and Sexual Reproductive Health.

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