Despite today being celebrated by the Christians as St Valentine’s day, And Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of the Lenten Season in the Church, Today is also International Condom day. I know so people may see this post as repulsive, but let’s face the reality and not pretend to what is happening even though we have religions and beliefs that speak about sex till marriage. A lot of people once you have reached the age of maturity get involved in sexually activities except those who choose “Abstinence” in the ABC command (A-Abstinence , B-Be faithful, C- Condoms) and are free from all sorts of STIs and unwanted pregnancy. In Being faithful, what if your partner isn’t faithful to you, you probably can’t be checkmating them all the time, then use a condom and save yourselves.
As part of activities marking the International Condom Day, AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Nigeria, on Tuesday, distributed 100,000 condoms to people in Makurdi, Benue.
The non-governmental organisation also rendered free HIV/AIDS testing and counseling to 3,000 persons. The AHF site coordinator of ART Clinician and HIV in Nigeria, Dr. Shuaibu Joseph, disclosed this during the International Condom Day celebration organised by AHF in Makurdi. Joseph stated that the International Condom Day is usually celebrated on February 13th as a global event, a day before Valentine’s Day in a bid to promote prevention of STDs, including HIV and unwanted pregnancies through free condom distribution, safer sex awareness events and HIV Testing Services.
He said AHF has been working in seven local government areas of Benue State, conducting voluntary HIV tests and counseling, offering sex education and distributing condoms to encourage safe sexual practices in the rural areas.
In his remark, the Executive Secretary, Benue State Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr. Dura Gideon, said everyone must be involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the state. Dura, who was represented by Mrs. Regina Ameh, advised people to abstain from oral sex, while they should use condom which can prevent STDs, including HIV, and unwanted pregnancies when used properly.
“One of the major ways to be infected by HIV/AIDS is through sex; therefore, to avoid contacting HIV, use condom.
“Condom has become fashionable; so, go about with your condoms if you are sexually active.
“Even despite a stable relationship, you must use condoms to prevent STD and unwanted pregnancy,” he counselled. John Charles, Makurdi.
Also, Mr Greg Abiaziem, the acting Country Programme Manager of AHF, said that it was important to arrest the trend of new HIV infection gripping Nigerian youths through the preaching of abstinence.
“It is important to abstain from sex or use condom to prevent STDs, including HIV and unwanted pregnancies.
“It has become important to ensure condom option is made available as preventive measure to youths who cannot abstain from sex as new HIV infections highest among young persons from 15 to 24 years.
“The National Data also suggests that about 4.2 per cent of young persons from 15 to 24 years are living with HIV,’’ Abiaziem said.
In his remarks, Mr Terri Ford, the Chief Global Policy, Advocacy and Marketing, said that condom were under attack in the realm of global public health with the government and international agencies slashing funds.
Ford said that this would likely lead to more infections worldwide.
He said that the day would reinvigorate the message that condom gives fun and a fashionable way to protect oneself and partner.
Ford further reinforced the tenet that condom should be made available free to anyone who needs them.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS organisation in the world that provides medical care to over 855,000 clients in 39 countries.
AHF Nigeria has been operating in the country since 2011 and has its presence in six states.