Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Stopping HIV the youth friendly way

A venture to design youth friendly HIV prevention services and also to disseminate the findings of baseline study carried out in Nagaland to access the level of HIV knowledge and risk perception of the general youth population, a workshop was conducted Wednesday at Hotel Japfü.
Commissioner and secretary of Urban Development, Temjen Toy, who graced the inaugural function as the chief guest, accentuated the need to address the problems of AIDS with youth friendly programmes. He said with the changing of time, there was a need for new strategies and therefore called upon NGOs to address the problem of stigma and discrimination and not just work on preventing HIV/AIDS.
Nagaland being one of the six AIDS prevalent states, Toy said the repercussion of AIDS lay on social, economy and religion. In this regard, he added that challenge needed to be tackled with services that were practical in the Naga context.
Giving a presentation on HIV scenario in Nagaland and the need for youth friendly services in the state, project director NSACS, Dr. Neiphi Kire, notified that HIV prevalence rate in Nagaland was 1.20%, and expressed hope that the state would become a low HIV prevalence state in few years time. Fear of medical procedures, concern over lack of privacy and confidentiality, embarrassment, lack of recreational facilities, concern that staff would be judgmental, etc were some of the points faced by youth that Dr. Neiphi Kire pointed out as to why youth friendly services were needed to prevent HIV/AIDS.
North East coordinator of UNODC, Dr. Pushkar Singh in his presentation on project INDI81 HIV/AIDS project in four North Eastern states of India stated that NACO as part of NACP III has laid emphasis on decentralization and strengthening support to Northeastern States, and set programme goal to contribute to the national response in reducing the risk and impact of HIV/AIDS in four states of the North East: Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Meghalaya. He said that 30% of the population in the four project states lived below the poverty line, and that unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment shaped the vulnerability of the local youth and health problems related to HIV and drugs. The components of the project included capacity building, advocacy programmes, care and support, make specific innovations state wise, etc. Dr. Singh also highlighted on a detailed case study on HIV vulnerability of Youth in Nagaland covering Mokokchung and Wokha districts.
The workshop was held on ‘Dissemination of Rapid Situation Response Assessment (RSRA) findings and designing youth friendly HIV prevention services in Nagaland’ and Project- INDI-81 “HIV/AIDS Project in four North-eastern States of India.” The workshop was conducted by United Nations Office on Drug and Crime, in partnership with Nagaland State AIDS Control Society and RRTC NE II (Kripa Foundation).

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