The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, in collaboration with the Kaduna State Government, has counselled 184,825 youths on HIV/AIDS in Jema’a Local Government Area of the state between 2016 to date.
The Coordinator, Local Action Committee on AIDS in the council, Mrs Shafaatu Isiyaku, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Kafanchan on Sunday.
Mr Isiyaku said that the youths were reached through 38 demand creators and 18 counsellors and testers in the LGA, under the Adolescent and Young Persons, AYPs, project, which began in 2016.
AYP project is a UNICEF-supported programme, designed to scale-up the combination of HIV prevention, treatment and care services for adolescents and youths in the state.
The coordinator said that out of the 184,825 AYPs counselled, 37,523 were tested, of which 191 tested positive and were placed on treatment.
She added that a total of 44,457 pregnant and nursing mothers equally benefited from the HIV testing and counseling within the period to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV.
She, however, identified insufficient test kits and other consumables, as major challenges affecting the smooth implementation of the project in the LGA.
“Similarly, lack of adequate facilities and consumables is affecting the patronage of the HIV-friendly centres located at Ibrahim Yakowa Memorial Hospital, Kafanchan.
“But we are doing the best we can to continue to reach out to the AYPs with the combination of HIV prevention, treatment and care services in their communities and at their doorsteps,” she said.
Mr Isiyaku added that the demand creators, counselors and testers in the LGA, would carry out massive out-reach programme in 10 wards in the area.
“This is part of activities to celebrate the 2019 World AIDS Day,” she said.
One of the demand creators Sanaka Gamaliel, said that youth’s turnout during demand creation outreaches was very impressive, particularly when condoms were being shared to the youths.
“Once the AYPs hear that we are sharing condoms, they will come out en mass and offer themselves to be tested, but will usually decline when we do not have condoms,” Mr Gamaliel said.