Group Seeks Integration Of Mental Health Services


A group of youth and adolescents under the auspices of the Association of Positive Youth in Nigeria (APYIN), have called for the integration of mental health and psychosocial support services into HIV prevention programmes.

This, the youths said will address the emotional and psychological needs of adolescents and young people living with HIV.

They made the call at the Youth Pre-conference held during the 2024 Nigerian HIV Prevention Conference, with the theme: Accelerating HIV Prevention to End AIDS through Innovations and Community Engagement”, Organised by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), in Abuja.

Speaking on behalf of the youth, Elizabeth Talatu stressed the need to promote mental wellness and combat stigma and discrimination, describing it as integral components of  HIV prevention efforts in the country.

She said, “We call for the integration of HIV prevention into existing health and development programs targeting adolescents and young people, including sexual reproductive health and rights, economic empowerment, mental health, sexual and gender-based violence, and education.

“We call for the strengthening of health systems to ensure the sustainability of HIV prevention efforts, including capacity building for healthcare providers, supply chain management for essential commodities, and monitoring and evaluation systems for program effectiveness.”

The youths further called for the implementation of anti-stigma campaigns and community dialogues to curb misinformation including negative attitudes and discrimination toward adolescents and young people living with HIV, including key populations.


They emphasised the need for training for healthcare providers, educators, and community leaders on stigma reduction, cultural competence, and human rights to create inclusive and supportive environments for adolescents and young people affected by HIV, including key populations.


Advocating for harm reduction strategies, the youths stressed the need to scale up harm reduction programme for those dependent on drugs through domestic funding to complement existing donor investment.


They called for the implementation of harm reduction strategies that are tailored to the needs of young people who use drugs, including needle and syringe programs, opioid substitution therapy, and the management of drug overdose with naloxone.

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