Prevalent in our society is an increasing rate of casual sex. The following details as released by NACA shows why Nigerians should avoid casual sex without protection.
- Currently HIV prevalence among the general population is 3.6%.
- National median prevalence among pregnant women is 4.1%.
- About 3.1 million people are living with HIV in Nigeria.
- About 300,000 new infections occur annually with people aged 15 – 24 contributing 60% of the
- 1.5 million People living with HIV require ARVs using the new WHO guidelines.
- Only 30% of people living with HIV who need antiretroviral (ARVs) have access to it.
- Less than 30% of pregnant women have access to PMTCT services.
WOMEN, GIRLS AND HIV
- HIV is the leading cause of death and disease among women of reproductive age (15 – 49years).
- In sub- Saharan African, 60% of the People Living with HIV is female (while women make up 50% of the global epidemic).
- In Nigeria prevalence among young women aged 15 – 24 years is estimated to be three times higher than among men of the same age.
- Females constitute 58% (about 1.72 million) of persons living with HIV in Nigeria.
- Each year, 55% of AIDS deaths occur among women and girls
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS IS A KEY DRIVER OF HIV EPIDEMIC
- Why gender inequality makes women and girls vulnerable to HIV:
- Women and girls lack the power to control key aspects of their lives including marriage and sexual negotiation in and out of marriage.
- Women and girls may also lack the social and economic power to control the impact of the epidemic in their lives.
- They may also lack access to education, personal income and property rights.
- Low literacy, lack of access to health information and low seeking behavior.
- Cultural/traditional male dominance and gender and sexual violence.
- Lack of political and legal power and legal protection.
- Harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation/cutting, early and forced marriage, vaginal douching and women inheritance.
- Women living in poverty may adopt behaviors that expose them to HIV infection, including the
- exchange of sexual favors for food, shelter or money to support themselves and their families.
SOCIETAL FACTORS THAT PUT WOMEN AT RISK
- In Nigeria men often have more than one sexual partner and it is common for older men to have sexual relationship with much younger women. This contributes to:
- Three times higher infection rate among young women (15 – 24 years) compared to young men of the same age.
- One-third (33%) of married women in Nigeria being in polygamous union.
- 16% of girls initiate sexual activity before age 15
- At least 40% of girls are married by age 15.
- Twenty three percent (23%) of young women begin child bearing between 15 – 19 years.
- Women are likely to face barriers in accessing HIV prevention, treatment and care services due to the limited decision making power, lack of control over financial resources, restricted mobility and child- care responsibilities.
- Women and girls are often the primary care-givers in the family, including for those living with and affected by HIV, hindering their economic opportunities.
- Many women lose their homes, inheritance, possessions, livelihoods and even their children when their partners die. This forces many women to adopt survival strategies, including sex work, that increase their chances of contracting and spreading HIV.
- Early marriage is still common nationwide, with young girls often forced into marriage and sexual relations, causing health risks, including exposure to HIV.
1. Lack of education affects millions of women and girls hindering their economic security
- Two thirds of the 110 millions of children not in school are girls.
- Of the world’s 875 million illiterate’s adults, two thirds are women.
- In Nigeria, 49% of females in rural areas and 22% in urban area have no education.
2. Lack of education can prevent women from accessing HIV information and services.
- Only 23% of women in Nigeria have comprehensive knowledge of the mode of HIV transmission and prevention
EFFORTS TO ADDRESS WOMEN & GIRLS VULNERABILITY TO HIV
- Coordinating the decentralization of effective and integrated comprehensive HIV services at PHC and community levels.
- Strengthening prevention in States with high or rising prevalence among key populations through combination prevention services including: Scaling up of PMTCT; Accelerated PMTCT program at PHC & Community levels, and giving attention to MARP, Women, Young people, OVCs.
- Mainstreaming Gender issues; Women empowerment and Male involvement, through a Six year Strategic plan (2010-2015) for women & Girls & HIV derived from NSP.
- Mobilization of strategic partners such as FBOs, women focused NGOs, traditional rulers, public & private organization, through the office of first Lady & wives of government & LGA chairman.
- Integration of Reproductive Health and HIV services