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The National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (NACA) has come up with new guidelines for key population in HIV/AIDS intervention in Nigeria.
Making this known during a sensitisation meeting on HIV / inuguration of Health correspondent organised by the South-South HIV Media Advocacy working group, Rivers State branch, the Project Manager, Rivers State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (RIVSACA), Dr Naaziga Francis, said the key population refers to people with higher risk of being infected with the HIV as a result of their lifestyles.
These key population of old, Dr Francis said, are men who have sex with men, female sex workers, and people who inject hard drugs.
However, the RIVSACA boss explained, the new NACA guideline has been modified and expanded to five population subjects:
“We still have men who have sex with men, and people who inject drugs. But for female sex workers, it has been changed to ‘sex workers’ because we also have male sex workers.
“So, any person who’s into sex work because of money, due to the very high number of partners and some other practices that may be associated with it, we post them as the higher risk of HIV/AIDS.
“But then, even among the sex workers, we have some who have dual vulnerability: some may be doing drugs, others may be involved in other things”, he said.
Naaziga continued that beyond these ones, there is another sub-population known as the trans-gender population.
“People that are in a kind of transition from where their sex identification is, different from their biological sex”, he said.
He explained that in this sub-population are men who have the male genitals but have a mindset of a woman, and vice versa.
According to Dr Francis, this mindset “exposes them (transgender population) to a lot of psychological issues, and this also affect their sexual practices, thereby exposing them to high risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS”.
Another key population, he continued, are those in correctional settings or prison.
“These persons, by virtue of being confined to an environment, are also exposed to various risky sexual behaviours that put them in higher risk of contracting HIV” he said.

By: Sogbeba Dokubo

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