Health experts warn that HIV/AIDS is spreading rapidly among the young, especially young women. As a result, peer education programs are being formed to train university students to spread the word about the dangers of unprotected sex.
For example, in Nigeria’s southeastern Anambra State, such a program is being run by an organization called COHEDA, which stands for “Community Health Education and Development in Africa.”
Dr. Clifford Okafor is executive director of the group. From Awka, he spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the need for HIV/AIDS peer educators in universities. He says many students had the misconception that if you were infected with HIV you died immediately. When people did not die right away, they assumed it was a ruse to get students to stop having sex.
He says the youth are Nigeria’s future, and if they understand the dangers of the disease, they can develop effective policy once they attain positions of power. He also says it will help ensure there are enough trained workers. Dr. Okafor says COHEDA has trained over three hundred peer educators at three universities.