I am a two week old 2018 LeNNiB Champion. I am determined to complete this five months intensive course. I almost despair when I did not get a congratulatory mail or call following my application. I was bent on re-applying for the 2019 batch. But then, I got a call. For me, it has been an exciting two weeks. I have a diverse set of advocacy classmates from whom I am learning about working with populations most at risk for HIV infection. I learnt about the limitation with the Abstinence, Be faithful and use of Condom (ABC) Prevention message; and how the Combination Prevention approach is more effective.
By combination prevention, I’m referring to the UNAIDS definition which is “a rights-based, evidence-informed, and community-owned programmes that use a mix of biomedical, behavioural and structural interventions prioritized to meet the current HIV prevention needs of particular individuals and communities so as to have the greatest sustained impact on reducing new infections. The three keywords are Behavioural, Biomedical and Structural Prevention. For Nigeria, the Minimum package prevention interventions serves as a strategy to operationalize the combination framework in Nigeria.
I also learnt about the STI management, male and female condoms, PrEP and PEP, male circumcision and its important for HIV prevention. The government needs to create the needed environment to promote prevention and treatment of HIV and other related infections that could lead to high risk of contracting HIV. There is so much to learn I must say!!!
This is my call to all NGOs and government agencies working towards the 2020 90-90-90 goal that sets the stage for elimination of AIDS by 2030. We cannot keep mopping the floor while the tap is still on. Turn off the tap for new infections’.