The surge in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections among children in Gombe State is attributed to an increase in gender-based violence, as asserted by Mr. Hassan Mohammed, the program officer of the Gombe State Agency for the Control of AIDS (GOSACA),leadership reports.
Mr. Mohammed made this statement during an interview with journalists following the commencement of the 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls in Gombe. The event, organized by the Centre for Integrated Health Programs (CIHP), took place at Evolution Hotel, Gombe.
He highlighted that cases of child rape and homosexuality among adolescents have contributed to the rising prevalence of HIV infections in the state. Mr. Mohammed mentioned that the state governor recently took action by suspending some prominent figures from their positions due to allegations of sexual harassment of young children in society.
“In SACA, we believe these are significant factors driving HIV in Gombe State. The sexual abuse of small children, including individuals with mental health challenges, is prevalent. This leads to the transmission of infections within our society, posing a serious issue,” he emphasized.
Bashir Musa, a senior manager of CHIP, also expressed concern, attributing the escalation of gender-based violence to underreporting of cases to relevant authorities. He noted that victims, particularly raped girls, face stigmatization in society, discouraging their parents and guardians from reporting such incidents, allowing perpetrators to go unpunished.
During the 16 days of activism, CHIP aims to conduct various sensitization activities in the state to encourage people to report instances of sexual assaults against girls, with the goal of mitigating this menace to the minimum possible extent.