The University of Calabar has inaugurated a one-stop Adolescent and Youth Friendly Centre as part of efforts to end the spread of HIV, for the benefit of students and staff of the institution.
The two storey building which has indoor sports facility, digital hub and a section for HIV/AIDS services, was commissioned by the Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Betta Edu.
Edu was conducted round the building by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Florence Obi, during which she lauded the university for supporting the state Government’s efforts to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDs.
She further said the facility would provide free HIV services such as treatment to more than 40,000 students and staff of the school as contribution to the reduction of the prevalence of AIDs in Cross River State, which stands at 1.8 percent.
Edu said, “We are here at the University of Calabar with over 40,000 students, all our partners and the Cross River State Government.
“We are here to sensitize the students and create awareness on reducing HIV.
“Proudly, Cross River State has been able to reduce the prevalence rate from 6.6 percent 4 years ago to 1.8 percent presently.
Today, a youth friendly centre was inaugurated in the University of Calabar and we are expecting that the 40,000 students and even the staff that are in this community can come in here and get services free of charge.
“More importantly, the students and staff would be able to access treatment here and you do not necessarily need to be HIV positive to visit the building. The students can come to this building for recreation such as play table tennis, chess and other indoor games.
There is also a digital hub here, where students can benefit from. So, it is a one-stop shop that would be delivering HIV services to our students.”
To further reduce the prevalence rate of HIV, she said that a facility community-based strategy has been adopted and stakeholders engaged for effective monitoring across the state.
She charged students to imbibe the right attitude towards self-preservation and protection against the HIV virus, and urged the university committee on HIV/AIDs, to effectively utilize the youth friendly centre to enhance its advocacy and sensitization efforts.
“As an administration, we intend to increase advocacy, counselling and testing as well as sensitizing the students on responsible behavior; letting them know that AIDs is still very real and the Cross River State Government has done so much to reduce the prevalence of HIV. We are committed to increasing their consciousness to be careful,” Edu said.
The event with theme ‘End Inequality, end AIDs through Sustainable HIV Financing’, was a street sensitization walk in the University of Calabar community.