No fewer than 40 percent of the 6,300 people infected by the HIV daily are aged between 15 and 24, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

A statement by the UNFPA Media Officer, Ms Kori Habib,UNFPA, on Sunday, in Abuja, described HIV as the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age and also contributed to at least 20 percent of maternal deaths.

“Every hour, 50 young women are newly infected with HIV; adolescent pregnancy diminishes the life opportunities of girls everywhere.

“Every day, 20,000 girls below 18 give birth in developing countries. We must step up HIV prevention and access to sexual and reproductive health services,” it said.

Quoting UNAIDS, the statement said that intimate-partner violence increased women’s risk of acquiring HIV by 50 per cent.

“Women from key populations, such as female drug users, commercial sex workers and transgender are particularly likely to experience gender-based violence.

“Women and girls in conflict and disaster situations face increased vulnerability to sexual violence, which puts them at greater risk of HIV infection,’’ it said.

The statement noted the significant progress in the global response to stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS in a bid to achieve zero level in new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

It pointed out that the number of new HIV infections had decreased while more people had access to treatment thereby reducing the number of deaths through AIDS.

“Inequalities, social exclusion, stigma, as well as discrimination continue to hinder access to life-saving services and commodities for far too many, including women and young people,’’ the statement said.

In another statement, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), urged concerted efforts to reduce the national prevalence from 3.4 per cent to less than 2 per cent within five years.

The president of the association, Dr Osahon Enabulele, issued the statement on Sunday in Abuja.

“As Nigeria looks forward to marking her centenary anniversary next year, we call on governments at all levels to make reduction of HIV/AIDS prevalence and eradication a priority project as budget appropriation activities are gearing up,’’ it said.

The statement said that efforts should be intensified to improve access to anti-retroviral drugs by people living with HIV/AIDS.

It decried the persistence of the socio-demographic factors in the epidemiology of the disease.

“The continued high prevalence of maternal to child transmission remains a great challenge to all stakeholders and of great concern to the association.’’ (NAN)

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