The Deputy Director of Research who is a member of the Nigerian National HIV Treatment Task Team at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, spoke weekend in Lagos at a programme tagged: “4 Youth by Youth Designation 2019.”
The awareness programme, being the first designation for health in Nigeria was organised by NIMR, in conjunction with the Saint Louis University, Missouri; the University of North Caroline and New York University.
Similar to a Hackathon, a 48- hour event in which young people from all over Nigeria will ideate, design and present their self-devised solutions to social and health issues. The designation is dedicated to developing new services or products that can promote self-testing for HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
Ezechi stressed that knowing your HIV status, especially youths was the best way to help in eliminating HIV completely in the country. The obstetrician and gynecologist said; “We are all aware of the recent HIV reports which say HIV has dropped in the country. But, new infections are still occurring among young persons, women and young girls.
“If we really want to get to the first 90 of the 90- 90 – 90 targets of eliminating HIV/AIDS, meaning 90 per cent of people who have HIV, should know their status. Then the entry point for the treatment is HIV counsel and testing. But, 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 would assemble together, design and get best strategy for them on HIV self-testing,” Ezechi said.