Written by Emmanuel Ogbeche

2017 World AIDS Day: U.S. Envoy Tasks Students On HIV/AIDS Spread

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world in marking the 2017 World AIDS Day, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. W. Stuart Symington, has called on students to join in the effort to stop the spread of the disease.

Speaking at a program organized by U.S. Mission in Nigeria on the commemoration of the World AIDS Day on Thursday at Government Secondary School, Wuse Zone 3 Abuja, he advised the students to play an active role in stopping the spread of HIV in Nigeria. 

“Here is what you can do about it … take an oath today … make this disease stop with you. Prevent it!” He said.

The event with the theme: “Behavior Change for Epidemic Control,” involved more than 200 senior secondary school students from 10 public secondary schools across the FCT as well as key government officials from the education and health sectors.

Symington formally donated sets of science books to the school library of each of the participating schools.

A statement by the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria said despite the decrease in AIDS-related mortality and morbidity worldwide, HIV has not been eliminated; a third of the new infections around the globe are among young people between the age of 15-24, and prevention remains key to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

According to the embassy, at each World AIDS Day, the U.S. Mission in Nigeria honors those who have lost their lives to AIDS and renew its commitment to continue to assist those who are living with or at risk of HIV/AIDS. 

Since its inception in 2014, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief (PEPFAR) has disbursed more than $5.1 billion to Nigeria in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and is currently supporting more than 770,000 of the 1,000,000 men, women, and children on HIV treatment in the country.

PEPFAR’s approach to HIV prevention in Nigeria focuses on treatment, prevention-of-mother-to-child transmission, as well as increased awareness among the groups who are highly at-risk especially adolescent girls and young women in states with high concentrations of the epidemic.

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