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HIV Virologist tasks adolescents living with disease on sex abstinence

Dr Patrick Dakum said that the training is aimed at educating adolescents living with HIV to become peer educators to other children.

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Nurse gives a red ribbon to a woman to mark World Aids Day at the entrance of Emilio Ribas Hospital, in Sao Paulo play A nurse (L) hands out a red ribbon to a woman, to mark World Aids Day, at the entrance of Emilio Ribas Hospital, in Sao Paulo December 1, 2014. (REUTERS/Nacho Doce)

The Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria(IHVN), Dr Patrick Dakum, has urged adolescents living with the HIV virus to practice sexual abstinence.

Dakum, who gave the advice during a training of adolescents and caregivers living with HIV on Sunday in Abuja, noted that abstinence is the best way to live a fulfilled life.

He said that the training is aimed at educating adolescents living with HIV to become peer educators to other children with same challenge.

He also noted that the training is a transition period from pediatrics clinic to adult clinic.

The chief executive officer said that the training would also enable them to live “a physically, socially, intellectually and spiritually complete life”.

“The training will enable the children to understand the burden of living with HIV and the need to constantly take the anti retro-viral drug as prescribed to enable them to stay alive.

“In the adolescent clinic they will be meeting their peers and nobody will stigmatise them, all the health care providers will be properly trained.

“In the adolescent friendly clinics there will be adolescent clubs for them and the clubs will provide them with opportunity to socialise.

“Some of these children suffer stigmatisation where they are coming from, people do not want to mingle with them or have anything to do with them and this can be devastating.

“Some adults have committed suicide as a result of stigmatisation and we do not want such to repeat itself,’’ he said.

The IHVN Boss stressed that the institute would continue to integrate reproductive health skills to help people living with HIV.

The Programme Officer, Pediatrics and Adolescent Care, IHVN, Mrs Grace Adamu, said that the training was part of the counseling process for the children

“Some of them didn’t know they had HIV, because their parents didn’t know how to break the information to them.

“This training serves as an avenue to tell these children they have HIV and to teach them all they need to know about the virus.

“It is also an avenue for their caregivers to learn how to help these children and how to break such information to them because some of them do not have relationship with the children.

“Caregivers keep telling the children that they are special children and that is why they are taking the drugs because they find it difficult to tell them they are HIV positive.

“Some of them got to know that they where HIV positive from there, while some knew days before coming for the training.

“On the first day, they where moody but they got better as time went on after socialising with their peers,’’ Adamu said.

She said that the children were expected to go into the adult clinics and become peer educators to other children living with HIV.

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Some adolescents living with HIV who spoke to a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) expressed joy and satisfaction at the training.

They said that the programme had helped to relieve their pain.

They also said that it had helped them to know their status, given them hope and made them realise that they could live long as well as achieve their dreams.

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