Lagos Nigeria, December 1, 2017 – In commemorating the World AIDS Day 2017, given its commitment to providing health information, access and treatment to the underserved, Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (YEDI) in collaboration with National Youth Network on HIV/AIDS (NYNETHA) Lagos with support from Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA) is directly providing free HIV Testing Services (HTS) and healthy living information to 5,000 people in disadvantaged communities, from December 1st – 5th, in 4 Local Government Areas in Lagos including Agege, Lagos Mainland, Ajeromi-Ifelodun and Kosofe.
At the Press Briefing held on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, at the YEDI Head Office, Lagos, the Group noted that the Outreach would specifically include: media awareness, community education and awareness sessions, HIV counseling and testing, and a community youth football match. The YEDI-NYNETHA World AIDS Day 2017 campaign, is chiefly funded by MAC AIDS Fund, and supported by Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), Society for Family Health (SFH), HACEY Health Initiative and FAN Milk Nigeria among others.
Speaking at the briefing, YEDI’s Head of Programmes – Tomisin Adeoye stated that “Apart from free HIV Testing Services, there will also be referrals for those found reactive as well as linkages to treatment.” Isaac Moses, NYNETHA Lagos’ General Secretary added that other activities lined up for the 5-day campaign were malaria Rapid Diagnostic Testing, distributions of bed nets, distribution of male and female condoms, lubricants, among others as well as dissemination of up-to-date information on HIV/AIDS during the five-day period.
According to the State Coordinator, NYNETHA, Lanre Ramon Babamole, a strategic alliance with YEDI with support from well-meaning organizations and Local Governments would offer great cost-efficient benefits to the grassroots. He noted the infused community football tournament, alongside music, light refreshment and other fun activities, would also increase the number of youths exposed to accurate information HIV and also counseling and testing. He also commended the Ajeromi Ifelodun for their prompt show of support.
Lucky Ihanza, YEDI’s Communications Officer, speaking on behalf of the Executive Director – Oje Ivagba, added that the 2017 World AIDS Day activities would build on the successes made in the previous years by mobilizing and sensitizing people to know their status with the provision of free HIV testing services in a friendly environment, tackling issues of stigmatization, discrimination and fear of getting tested, promoting social inclusion and adequate care for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and stimulating a larger Stakeholder involvement. He, however, stressed that no individual, government, or organization can singlehandedly make meaningful progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS. He, therefore, made a clarion call to the government, well-meaning organizations and public-spirited individuals to support such a campaign to push back the HIV scourge and the realization of the 90:90:90 global targets on HIV.
The weeklong events kick off on December 1st, at Ajeromi Ifelodun Council Head Quarters while the Youth Health Novelty Football Tournament comes up on December 2, 2017, at Ojo-Oniyun Youth Centre, Ebutte-Meta, Lagos at 10am.