By Jovitta Iorshase
The Coordinator, National Youth Network on HIV/AIDS Population and Development (NYNETHA), Mr Benjamin Ahange has called on stakeholders, individuals and Infected Persons (IPs) to keep aside their sentiments and diversities, starting from this year’s World AIDS Day (WAD) commemoration and come together as an umbrella to work to end AIDS.
Mr Ahange, who was represented by the Deputy Coordinator, Vera Anjov made the call, during the 2022 candle light procession held on Wednesday at Kenville Park, Makurdi.
He explained that, the event was important and necessary to mark the remembrance of all adolescents and young persons who lost their lives to the HIV pandemic and those living with the virus.
“This event is in remembrance of all the adolescents and young persons who died or living with the virus. Even if you are not infected with HIV, you are affected in one way or the other, so lets rise to fight it as one.
“That’s why the theme ‘Equalize’ is timely. We must encourage the youths and sensitize them against stigma and discrimination, by organizing activities that will involve all of them, not minding their diversities, such as sex workers, drugs users etc,” he said.
The coordinator observed that, the pandemic is more prevalent among adolescents and young persons because of the various activities they engage in, hence the need to draw them close not neglect them.
He further charged the NYSC Anti-AIDS Community Development Service group to ensure that everyone in their respective communities know their HIV status, positive cases are linked to care, and follow them to be able to achieve Viral Load Suppression.
The Deputy Coordinator, Association of Positive Youths, Living with HIV (APYIN) Benue State Chapter, Evelyn Terkuma, speaking on behalf of the State Coordinator, Mr Okpa Markson acknowledged the resilience shown by the positive youths and encouraged them to continue eating and living well, in order to maximize their potentials as young people.
She appreciated Operation Triple Zero (OTZ) meeting for all the support given the association.