In commemoration of World AIDS Day on December 1st 2018, the 4Youth By Youth (4YBY) Group rewarded 3 winners – Tony Akeju, Ginika Nzokwe, and Idris Badmus – for their participation in the social media-driven HIV Self-Testing Contest which ran from October 25th to November 25th 2018, in a bid to crowdsource innovative ideas to promote HIV self-testing in Nigeria. The winners also went home with cool gadgets, as well as mentorship opportunities from leading business and health professionals; this training will be based on the ideas they have pitched.
The 4YouthByYouth (4YBY) Group is a team of Nigerian researchers and scientists backed by the United States National Institute of Health (NIH). They have identified the adoption of HIV self-testing as an additional way to create demand for HIV testing, thereby increasing knowledge of HIV status and reducing the accelerated spread of HIV/AIDS nationwide among young people in Nigeria. The HIV testing in the privacy of one’s home will help to address issues of access and the stigma known with the disease. Dr. Oliver Ezechi of Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Lagos (NIMR) and Dr. Juliet Iwelunmor of Saint Louis University, Missouri lead the team.
Speaking at the World AIDS Day HIV self-testing awareness event, 4Youth By Youth Principal investigator, Dr. Juliet Iwelunmor said, “Our goal is to drive the increased participation of young Nigerians in the fight against HIV/AIDS through generating demand and adoption of self-testing. This we hope to achieve by rewarding innovative and creative ideas that encourage self-testing amongst Nigerian Youth, which will ultimately go a long way in helping to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat.”
The 4YBY Group in collaboration with Lagos AIDS Control Agency (LSACA) had earlier in the day organized a walkathon, which took place before the commencement of the award ceremony. Free condoms were given out, while oral and confirmatory blood-based HIV tests were administered to over 300 attendees by medical practitioners at the event. Over 1000 attendees got a chance to enter a raffle draw to win lots of exciting prizes.