By Jerry Emmanson, Abuja
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF – Nigeria) under its STYLE UP concept, which focuses on adolescents and young people aged 10-24 has launched the ‘Boys 2 Men’ component of the program in the country, in acknowledging that adolescence is a key transition period for boys and, as well as for girls, while providing needed support for a successful transition into adulthood.
The event which held at the Marina Resort, Calabar, affirmed the need for individuals (boys and girls) to be updated, trendy and in-vogue with their overall lifestyle and wellbeing.
The program aims to bridge knowledge gap on HIV, STIs and risky behaviours and promote behaviour change as well as build self-esteem, life skills as it creates avenue for mentorship.
Five schools in Calabar were involved in the maiden “Boys 2 Men” program which include; Hope Wadell Training Institute, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria Staff Secondary School, Pereka Model Secondary School, Government Secondary School, Henshaw Town and, Government Secondary School Lagos Street.
According to Steve Aborisade, Advocacy & Marketing Manager, AHF Nigeria, available data points to a scary reality which compels the introduction of this program.
‘‘For instance, going by available data by UNAIDS, WHO and UNICEF, in 2017/2018, 590,000 young people aged 15-24 got newly infected with HIV in 2017, with 250, 000 of them being adolescents aged 15-19. It is a known fact that HIV disproportionately affects young women and girls: 7,000 young women become infected with HIV every week while young women and girls aged 15-24 are 2 times more likely to be living with HIV than men. Also, 85% of adolescents aged 10-19 years living with HIV globally live in Sub Saharan Africa. That is 1.5 million of the 1.8 million adolescents living with HIV globally. Incidentally, about one Million Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are gotten everyday.
‘‘Adolescence is the period that boys learn to be men, a period that stereotypical ‘men ways’, can continue into adulthood, which may then be passed across to their own male children. The implication of this for the coming generation and the negative impact on boys and men themselves is one justification for this program to be initiated’’ he said.