World AIDS Day 2019, 1 December, is an opportunity to harness the power of young people to lead the fight against HIV. Today, more effective HIV prevention strategies have transformed what it means to know your status. However, progress for young Nigerians still lags behind such that one in five young people have never tested for HIV. HIV self-testing can help close this testing gap. HIV self-testing is the process where a person who wants to know their HIV status, collects his or her own specimen (e.g. oral fluid or blood), performs an HIV test and interprets the result, in privacy or with someone he or she trust. Despite the availability of these services, too many young Nigerians still lack access to comprehensive HIV self-testing services. How well to promote and encourage the use of the HIV self-testing kit among young people is still unknown.
The 2019, 4 Youth by Youth World AIDS Day contest, aims to close that gap. We believe that Nigerian youth can bring a new level of thinking to the most challenging problems in our society. We also believe that great ideas on how to promote and increase uptake of HIV self-testing among Nigerians can come from Nigerian youth themselves.
“Meaningful youth engagement in the design and delivery of HIV self-testing services is at the heart of our agenda to achieve an AIDS-free generation in Nigeria,” says Dr. Juliet Iwelunmor, Associate Professor, Saint Louis University, and principal investigator of the 4 Youth by Youth project, “Innovative Tool to Expand youth-friendly HIV Self-Testing (I-TEST)”. “We call on all Nigerian youth with innovative ideas to participate in the contest and share their ideas on how they will promote HIV self-testing so that there is increased acceptance from their peers and other young people.”
“Participating in the pioneer 4YBY challenge has provided me with an avenue for being the change I so eagerly wish to see in the world. It has truly changed my life for the better. Given the choice, I would do it all over again!” says Kelechi Chima of team GENRA, a participant from the 2018 4 Youth by Youth World AIDS Day contest. “So, I strongly urge other youth in Nigeria, if you have any innovative ideas on how to promote HIV self-testing to the over 30 million youth in Nigeria, join the contest and share your ideas.”
The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is titled Communities Make The Difference. “By letting young people lead, and giving them the tools to address problems they are best positioned to solve, is what contributes to making a difference in our communities” says Dr. Oliver Ezechi, Director of Research, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, and principal investigator of the 4 Youth by Youth project, “Innovative Tool to Expand youth-friendly HIV Self-Testing (I-TEST).
Through the 4 Youth by Youth HIV self-testing World AIDS Day contest, young Nigerians are provided with the opportunity to express themselves and voice their ideas on a global stage. Last year, we received over 900 submissions to our HIV self-testing contest on World AIDS day, of which we selected 40 of them to pitch their ideas in 3 minutes on a global stage. This year we seek to close the gap with HIV self-testing service delivery led for and by young Nigerians. We encourage every youth to join the movement, think outside of the box without limitations, and submit your innovative ideas today on how they would promote HIV self-testing to their peers. Innovative ideas for HIV self-testing led by Nigerian youth for Nigerian can help generate demand and mobilize all Nigerian youth to get tested and know their status.
The application for the Worlds AIDS Day HIV Self-Testing Contest launched on October 15, 2019, and the submission deadline is on November 17, 2019 by 11:59 pm WAT. We looking for innovative ideas on “how YOU will promote HIV Self-Testing among youth in Nigeria”. To participate:
- You must be between the ages of 14 to 24 years;
- Submit your ideas online using the following link: http://bit.ly/4YBYidea19
- You may also submit offline by downloading the form at http://bit.ly/4YBYregistrationform19
- or pick up printed form at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Clinical Sciences Department located at 6 Edmund Crescent off Murtala Mohammed way, Yaba Lagos
- Submit offline form via email email@example.com or drop-off at NIMR’s address
- Ideas will be shortlisted by November 22, 2019 and qualifying participants will be notified
- You may also visit our website at 4YBY.org for more information