HIV Infection in Adolescent Girls On The Rise – NGO
A non-governmental organisation, Love International has raised concerns over the rise of the new Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV), among adolescent girls and young women in Nigeria.
According to the organisation, the worrisome statistics of the viral infection released by the Joint United Nations Programme in AIDS (UNAIDS) shows that adolescent girls are more vulnerable to the HIV than boys and account for 22 percent of the viral infection, with three million girls and young women within the age of 15-24 years, out of 35 million people living with the virus globally.
Reports further revealed that for every 90 seconds, HIV is transmitted to a girl or young woman, which means that at least, 340, 000 new HIV infections occur among girls and young women between age 10-24 yearly.
The Executive Director and Cofounder of Safe Love Foundation, Sandra Idugboe said, based on research conducted, Nigeria is reported to have the second largest number of the new HIV infection in the world with its prevalence up to five times higher among teenage girls within the age of 15-19.
She said these teenage girls get infected through intergenerational sex and most times sexual abuse by older men who prey on the young girls who are vulnerable and defenseless, thereby increasing the risk of transmission of the viral diseases.
Giving a breakdown of the statistics released by the National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA), which shows the prevalence of HIV in the various states in Nigeria, Sandra said, there is need for government to tighten its justice system to sanction older men from forcefully abusing minors and teenage girls, as most of the offenders go scot free without facing the law, which encourage them to do more harm to the vulnerable girls.
According to the statistics the state and their prevalence of HIV included Rivers state with the high prevalence if 15.2 percent, followed by Taraba with 10.5 percent, Kaduna with 9.2 percent, Nasarawa with 8.1 percent, FCT 7.5 percent, Akwa Ibom 6.5 percent, Sokoto 6.4 percent, Oyo 5.6 percent and Benue 5.6 percent among others.
Sandra said this prompted the need for the campaign titled “No Sugar Daddy, Bright Future”, to address and combat the high rate of teenage pregnancies and new HIV infections among adolescent girls in schools nationwide… “