1.55m young Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS –Experts

No fewer than 1.55 million young Nigerians are currently living with HIV/AIDS, just as over 50 million are at risk from unprotected sex.

Dr. Otibho Obianwu, a medical practitioner and researcher stated this Wednesday at a media researcher advocacy workshop organised by an international Non Governmental Organisation, NGO, Population Council, in Lagos.

According to Obianwu, recent demographic estimates released by government on HIV shows that about 3.1 million Nigerians are living with HIV/AIDS and the age breakdown of the figure shows that at least half of those infected,; about 1.55 million, are young people.

He further explained that by current estimate, young people in Nigeria constitute about a third of the population. Unfortunately, she said, a majority of these young people aged 10-24 years old, are engaged in sex either consensual or un-consensually.

She noted with concern, that most young people having sex are having sex without protection saying, “Figures from demographic health survey 2008 revealed that only 22 percent of young men and 11 percent of young women used condom at their first sexual intercourse”

Dr Obianwu further disclosed that the youths are not accessing the HIV/ AIDS counseling services as they should, adding that most of them are simply not aware of their HIV status.

While calling on appropriate HIV prevention information, she advised that young people should be actively engaged in the planning, management and evaluation of HIV programs.

Also speaking at the workshop, Dr. Babatunde Ahonsi, country Director of Population Council, lamented that young people in the country do not have comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS adding that the risk perception is very low.

Author: FRANKA OSAKWE

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