Gombe decries rise in HIV cases among children
The Programme Officer of the Gombe State Agency for the Control of AIDS, Hassan Mohammed, has said that the number of children infected with the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus has been on the increase, adding that gender-based violence plays a pivotal role in its spread.
Mohammed disclosed this in an interview with journalists on the commemoration of 2023 16 days of activism organised by the Centre for Integrated Health Programmes on Saturday.
Our correspondent reports that this year’s commemoration is to unite and invest to prevent violence against women and girls.
According to him, the cases of rape of children and homosexuality among adolescents increased the prevalence of HIV infections, adding that the state governor had in recent times suspended some big names from offices as a result of sexual harassment of small children in the society.
Mohammed said, “In SACA, we believe, these are one of the drivers towards HIV in Gombe State. Small children and even mad people are being raped. That is why they transfer these kinds of infections to the society. So it became a problem within our society these days.”
Also speaking, a senior manager of CHIP, Bashir Musa, also decried the increase in gender-based violence, ascribing it to be culturally related
He said, “Victims of such violence especially raped girls face stigmatisation in the society thereby making their parents and guardians not report the matter and hence perpetrators go unpunished.”
Musa added within the 16 days of activism, they would conduct a series of sensitisation activities in the state to encourage people to report cases of sexual assaults against girls to mitigate the menace to the barest minimum.
On her part, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Asma’u Ignanus, disclosed that GBV in the state includes physical, sexual, mental or economic harm inflicted on a person because of socially ascribed power imbalances between males and females.
“It also includes the threat of violence, coercion, and deprivation of liberty, whether in public or private,” she said.