From Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
Director-General of the National Agency for the Control (NACA), Dr Sani Aliyu has said girls between the ages of 15-24 years account for 60 percent of new HIV infections in the country.
Aliyu, in an exclusive interview with Daily Sun, advocated a multi-sectoral approach to stemming HIV infection among young girls, which he said is still high despite the progress made in providing HIV services across the country.
However, the Director-General disclosed that NACA has prioritised interventions targeted at protecting young girls and giving them the right information.
National data suggests that 4.2 percent of young people (ages 15-24) are living with HIV. This is as awareness of HIV prevention is higher among young men than women.
Data from international Non Governmental Organisation, AVERT, equally indicates that young women have a higher HIV prevalence rate and are infected earlier in life than men of the same age group. In 2013, more than 34,700 young women were infected with HIV compared to 19,900 young men.
“Most of our new HIV infections, 60 percent of new infections are among young girls aged 15-24. Why? It’s because they are the most vulnerable. They have relationships with older men. There is the economic disparity between both groups, and the way to sort this out is girl-child education and women empowerment.