No fewer than 700 serving members of the National Youth Service Corps in Ondo State have been trained and sensitised on sexual reproductive health rights on Tuesday.
They were also sensitised on the need to adhere strictly to HIV prevention techniques.
The programme tagged ‘Corps members sexual reproductive health rights sensitisation’ was held at the NYSC Zonal Secretariat, Oda Road, Akure, the state capital.
Speaking, the President of the Corps Peer Education Trainers, Community Development Service Group, Onuorah Nkemjika, emphasized the need to reduce AIDS-related death and avoid stigmatization and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS.
She noted that the increase in HIV/AIDS awareness will also be extended to residents of the state.
Nkemjika said “During my early childhood, I grew up in a neighbourhood where I saw a lot of young girls who were not up to 18 years old being sexually molested in my area.
“So, I developed a passion to be creating awareness particularly to young girls on sexual reproductive health rights, because most of these girls that are being molested lack orientation and awareness to say no.
“It is a personal passion that I was able to share with my CDS group and because of their experience, we were able to groom it to a group project.
“Over 700 corps members have benefited from this programme. The beneficiaries now know that they don’t stand alone in the sight of sexual reproductive health rights, particularly sexual rights. They’ve also benefited from the free HIV test”.
“Part of our target is to inform them and part of it is for them to be knowledgeable about their HIV status as well as receiving care and counselling.
This is not the standing point for this sensitization and training. We are still hoping to reach out to communities, schools and other avenues as possible”.
According to her, there has been a dearth of visible, in-depth mainstream attention to sexual and reproductive health and rights in relation to HIV/AIDS.
In her remarks, the Ondo State Agency for the Control of AIDS representative, Bukky Adegbulu, charged the corps members to abstain from casual sex and embrace the preventive measures they have been taught.
The State Coordinator of NYSC in the State, Mrs Victoria Nnenna Ani, represented by Akure Zonal Inspector, Francis Adebayo charged other corps members in the state to brace up and come up with CDS programmes that will touch lives in their host communities.