A public Health Specialist, Dr. Oliver Ezechi, has counseled Nigerian youths on how to know their HIV status through self-testing to help in eliminating the scourge.
The health specialist, who is a member of the Nigerian National HIV Treatment Task Team at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, spoke on Friday in Lagos at a program tagged; ‘4 Youth by Youth Designation 2019’.
The awareness program was organized by NIMR, in conjunction with Saint Louis University, Missouri; University of North Caroline and New York University. The health program is the first designation for health in Nigeria.
The designation was dedicated to developing new services or products that can promote self-testing for HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
Ezechi said that knowing your HIV status, especially youths was the best way to help in eliminating HIV completely in the country.
“We are all aware of the recent HIV reports which say HIV has dropped in the country. There is a particular group, which are the young persons because new infections are still occurring among young persons, women and young girls.
“If we really want to get to the 9090 targets of eliminating HIV/AIDS, the first 90, meaning 90 percent of people who have HIV, should know their status.
“The entry point for the treatment is HIV counsel and testing; we noticed that young people are not coming forward to our hospitals and clinics to get tested because of stigma.
“What we are doing today is to bring up a competition in which young persons assemble together, design and get best strategy for them on HIV self-testing,” he stated.
In her remarks, Dr. Juliet Iwelunmor, a global health implementation scientist, said that their goals were to encourage and let everyone to know their HIV status.