#YAaHNaija is an innovative intervention to intensify HIV programming amongst Adolescent and Young People (AYPs) in Nigeria using digital and programmatic tools. This is based on the knowledge that meaningful youth participation and engagement is a game changer for achieving better health and HIV outcomes.
With the internet penetration in Nigeria now over 52%, this is creating an opportunity for innovative programming that can be integrated into young people’s daily lives to empower them to address the daily challenges, vulnerability and risks of HIV infection.
About the #YAaHNaija Project
#YAaHNaija is the brand identity for U Test in Nigeria — HIVST (HIV Self-Testing and Pre-exposure prophylaxis) to the most vulnerable adolescents and young people.
The innovation is nested within the principle of a comprehensive combination prevention and utilised U-report and other digital tools to mobilise and engage AYP in comprehensive HIV prevention knowledge activities; work with AYP peer networks and geo-localization tools for targeted service delivery, referral and linkages; support capacity strengthening, evidence generation and dissemination to achieve sustainable HIV outcomes at scale.
HIV prevalence is 3-4 times higher among AYPs that any other age bracket; while being highest among female AYPs. Irrespective of the kind of population you belong to, there are benefits that come with HIV self-testing, especially among AYPs, or anyone who thinks he or she has HIV symptoms. With HIVST, a person is able to move away from a position of unawareness about their serostatus. A key benefit of self-testing is that it can also be carried out at any time a person wants the test performed and result interpretation can also be made by the same person testing easily. Since there is currently no cure for HIV, this is therefore a major innovation that is still in use in 2022.
Self-testing does not eliminate the presence of a window period — about 12 weeks after a possible infection risk. The entire journey of HIV prevention however starts from the point of one knowing his or her status. The test results are also highly reliable.
What the Numbers Say
Globally, the progress in the reduction of new HIV infections in young people has been slow. With the current rate of reduction in new infections, the estimated number of global new HIV infections among adolescents is projected to increase to 270,000 annually by 2025 and 300,000 annually by 2030. Nigeria given its large new population is a major site for these numbers.
In Nigeria, 32,000 new infections occurred amongst Adolescent girls and young women in 2019. This represents the highest number of new HIV infections of all ages in Nigeria. This project is about addressing this climb in numbers through this major demography.
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