SAID intervention is part of the global effort in supporting and informing global effort to reduce, and ultimately end HIV epidemic in the world especially in girls and women. This is part of the campaign to stop HIV/AIDS now. We are finding innovative ways to tackle this epidemic using a people centered approach in communicating to people most at risk for HIV. In this intervention, we are engaged in better targeted prevention HIV/AIDS. In this way, we are also making effective use of existing data on HIV prevalence, geographies, and hotspots in our prevention effort for a HIV free world. It is shocking that while in every other category AIDS related deaths have dropped, the number of adolescents dying of AIDS is on the increase. The vast majority who died of AIDS related illnesses acquired HIV during pregnancy, delivery or in the first months of life. Of the 250, 000, 15 to 19 year olds infected in 2013, the overwhelming majority were girls. In that age group girls account for 2 out of every 3 new infections globally. Girls have been said to be more vulnerable to HIV/AIDs because they are more vulnerable generally. – to violence, including sexual violence, forced marriage and trafficking.

A couple of days back, in a discussion, I told a highly and well traveled young man that about one out of every three young people newly infected with HIV are either from Nigeria or South Africa. He was shocked. He tried to say that could not be true. I had to show him the studies that have been done on the issue. The 2008 HIV/Syphilis Sentinel Survey in Nigeria revealed that 3.3% of young people aged 15 – 19 are infected with the HIV virus. According to UNAIDS, Nigeria has estimated 280, 000 adolescents living with HIV/AIDS, consisting of 180, 000 and 100, 000 males. The number of new infections among young people in Nigeria aged 15 – 24 years in 2009 was 120, 000, which was nearly 60% of all new infections among young people in West and Central Africa. HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death worldwide among women of reproductive age in developing countries.

HIV prevalence among adolescent girls and young women is 7x that of males. Young people are at the center of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, in regard to both new infections and opportunities for halting the transmission of HIV. The highest rates of new infection occur in the age group 15 – 24. Studies also show that many young people are still at risk because of high –risk sexual behaviours, despite sound knowledge about sexual health risks. The level of perceived vulnerability in this group has been shown to be low. There is a body of evidence from countries where HIV prevalence is decreasing that it is the young people who are reversing the trend, since they are more likely to adopt new behaviours. Researches demonstrate that 60% of new HIV infections among young people occurred among adolescent girls and young women.

Globally, 15% of all women living with HIV are aged 15-24. Of these, 80% live in sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly 2 million people become infected with the HIV virus every year in sub-Saharan Africa. Since AIDS is incurable and there is no vaccine developed yet to stop it, policy makers must focus on other preventive measures. Ensuring the adoption of safer sexual behavior among youths remains critical to preventing the transmission of this disease. . To ensure a HIV free in new generations, the Nigeria Ministry of Education, needs to integrate HIV/AIDS education into the primary and secondary school curricula. In Nigeria, 25 years old men are far more likely to have HIV than 16 year- old adolescent boys. This means that sexual relationships with older partners (often called “sugar Daddies”) are particularly dangerous for adolescent girls. A few adolescent boys may also have “sugar mummies’ and risk contracting the virus. Harmful cultural norms mean that girls and young women around the world are at heightened risk of HIV infection because of factors such as: -Early marriage, - Inter-generational sex with older male partners, - Rape and sexual violence, - Sex work. “Peer education has been described as a core pillar of HIV prevention efforts globally and has been found to be effective at improving knowledge and promoting attitudinal and behavioral change. Adolescents whose friends do not approve of sexual relationship for teenagers have been found to be more likely not to engage in sexual relationship”. Peer education and support can be especially effective among adolescents because friends are their main sources of information about sexual practices, and peer influence can often motivate their behavior.

The level of awareness about HIV may be high that’s in being aware of the disease called AIDS, but the comprehensive knowledge about HIV/AIDS is very poor among primary and secondary schools in Nigeria. Peer education is an effective strategy in improving HIV knowledge, attitude, and some preventive practices among in-school adolescents. We know also that if provided with adequate training and supportive supervision, students can be agents of change in the school environment for a HIV free culture and generation.


We are carrying out HIV/AIDS prevention intervention in 48 secondary schools in Imo State through relative risk information for teenage girls. Information on the distribution of HIV infections by age and gender has been missing most of the peer education interventions in primary and secondary schools that have been conducted in Nigeria. This information in the hands of teenagers could have significant impact on their sexual decisions.

Among other things, SAID responds to these challenges by tackling cultural norms that limit the aspirations of girls and women, and increase their vulnerability to HIV through- encouraging partnerships that encourage communities to value girls equally to boys. Through this intervention, we are committed to enhancing life’s opportunities for girls and reducing HIV risk and infection among adolescents and women.

SAID is building the capacity of communities through advocacy, Gender equality opportunity and empowerment. In our effort, we are confronted with a number of challenges. Some school principals deny their students the opportunity to be informed and to have a chance to say no to HIV! This could be because of the fact that the principal and teachers have no comprehensive knowledge of this HIV/AIDS. Knowledge has been said to be power. And this is certainly true in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. Teddy Ihens & Onyeka Nwoko (Facilitators for Peer Education) SAID, Nigeria