As Nigeria joins the world to commemorate World AIDS Day 2023 with the theme, “Communities: Leadership to End AIDS by 2030”, the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) has collaborated with the Association of Positive Youths in Nigeria (APYIN) to sensitize Gbazango community on HIV and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) prevention in their community.
The sensitization activity started with a road walk from the NYSC junction in Kubwa Abuja to the Gbazango Chief Palace where community members gathered to participate in an interactive session on HIV and GBV.
IHVN Senior Program Officer Prevention, Care and Treatment, Ms. Ngozi Elema urged the community to spread the word about HIV prevention to others. “There are new approaches to HIV prevention such as the use of self-test kits for HIV testing. People don’t need to be ashamed to get tested for HIV. People living with HIV can access treatment and live well. Women living with HIV can have HIV-free babies. They should not be stigmatized.”
Gbazango Youth Leader, Mr. Musa Jagaba said that the program has enlightened more youths about curbing the spread of the disease. “There is this stigma that comes with having HIV but with better understanding, community members can realize that HIV is not a death sentence and should treat people living with HIV well. I have told them to contact us in the palace for more information on how to link people living with HIV with the necessary care, treatment, and prevention of GBV. Some of them do not know that they can be protected from gender-based violence.”
APYIN FCT Coordinator, Mrs. Victoria Abah noted that “research has shown that young girls are more vulnerable to GBV especially in rape, early marriage, emotional and physical abuse. We don’t just want to speak about HIV prevention but about gender-based violence because GBV is part of stigma. We call women to speak up. Don’t die in silence when experiencing GBV.”