As of 2017, UNAIDS reported that 3,100,000 people are currently living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, there are 200,000 newly infected people annually – 46,000 of these are young women and 33,900 are young men.
Annually, there are 150,000 AIDS-related deaths in Nigeria. In fact, Nigeria has more HIV infected babies than anywhere in the world, that is approximately 37,000 of the world’s 160,000 new cases.
Nigeria is currently leading the charge as the country with the highest rate of new infection in Africa, after South Africa and Uganda.
It is scary to know that these numbers, as shocking as it all sounds, are not even fully representative of the actual number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. Pundits have argued that one of the leading factors for the misrepresentation in the numbers that are being reported and the actual numbers living with the virus is the general stigma that is being attached to going in for tests.
Especially when you live in small communities where everyone knows everyone and probably the Nurse testing you probably lives two houses from you and is best friends with your next-door neighbor.
The apparent solution then is to provide an opportunity for people to be able to know their HIV status from the privacy of their own homes and then decide on a proper course of action, i.e., getting ARV drugs and using condoms while engaging in sexual activities to further curb the spread of the virus.
Drs. Ezechi, Iwelunmor and Tucker and a team of youth ambassadors, entrepreneurs and public health advocates, are currently seeking ways to promote HIV self-testing among Nigerian youths, using a simple and effective kit.
According to Dr. Ezechi, “youth participation in social innovations to promote HIV Self-Testing, can help lay the groundwork not only for a vibrant economy, but for more effective youth friendly health services serving young people themselves. NIMR and our partners are prepared to help Nigerian youth unlock their potential so that we can achieve an AIDS-FREE generation in Nigeria. “
Do you have creative ideas on how best to do this? Join the #HIVSelfTestingContest now by applying here:bit.do/HIVSelfTesting. The best ideas come with cash prizes and support for business startups based on the ideas. Entry closes on 25th of November 2018. For further inquiry, follow us on Instagram: @4youthbyyouth