Communique issued at the end of a Two-day Workshop for Young People who use drugs and Young People Living with HIV to meaningfully engage in Global Fund grant-making process in Nigeria.
Young People Who Use Drugs (YPWUD) and Young People Living with HIV (YPLHIV) met at a 2-day workshop facilitated by YouthRISE Nigeria and Association of Positive Youth Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (APYIN), under the Global Fund ‘Count Me In 2.0’ project supported by Global Network of Young People living with HIV, Youth rise and Youth Lead. The workshop held 30th – 31st, August 2021 at Denis Hotel, Wuse 2, Abuja, Nigeria.
The workshop focused on increasing the knowledge of young people living with HIV and young people who use drugs on the structure of the Global Fund and new funding model in Nigeria to promote their active engagement with provisions of the fund, for improved national HIV/AIDS response.
The following key issues were discussed at the workshop:
- Adolescents and Young People (AYP) have limited information on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Where the information is available, it is abstinence-based.
- Young key population are passively engaged in the decision-making process and program implementation; hence their recommendations are not given due consideration in decision making.
- Fear of stigma and discrimination continue to prevent young key population and adolescents and young people from accessing HIV/AIDS.
- Policies on age of consent and user fee restrict adolescents and young people’s access to HIV testing and treatment services.
- Hostile and judgemental attitude of healthcare providers discourage adolescents and young people, especially young key population, from accessing healthcare services.
- Lack of shelter service for young key population continues to be a challenge.
At the end of the workshop young people who use drugs and young people living with HIV came up with the following recommendations:
- Policies and programs targeted at adolescents and young people, specifically young key populations should ensure their meaningful participation and inclusion in the decision-making and program implementation.
- Access to comprehensive education on sexual and reproductive health should be promoted among young key populations.
- Youth-serving/Focused networks and organizations should strengthen their engagement and advocacy with relevant stakeholders to address policy issues such as, age of consent, user access fees etc. in the context of health service delivery and development.
- Government should invest in the provision of harm reduction services, particularly Needle Syringe Program to address the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among young people who inject drugs.
- Adolescents and young people living with HIV, young key populations should be actively involved in the development and formulation of the national HIV/AIDS strategic plan.
- Provision of shelter services should be integrated into HIV interventions, particularly for adolescent girls and young women (including young key populations) who are vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence.
- Healthcare workers should be continuously sensitized and trained to deliver tailored youth-friendly services that will help address adolescents and young people, particularly young key populations’ vulnerabilities, without stigmatization.
Adolescents and Young People Living with HIV, young key populations (including those living in humanitarian settings) must be actively involved in the national HIV/AIDS response in Nigeria through their meaningful engagement at the policy formulation and policy implementation. For this to happen, they must gain a deep understanding of the HIV epidemic in the country; understand the evidence base for HIV programming among young people; and be meaningfully engaged in the grant-making and program implementation process.
Association of Positive Youths Living with HIV In Nigeria
Global Network of Young People Living with HIV