The Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr. Gambo Aliyu has urged Nigerians to know their HIV status and avoid risky behaviours during the valentine’s season.
Dr. Aliyu was quoted as saying this in a statement on Monday, signed by the Head of Public Relations and Protocol of the agency, Toyin Aderibigbe.
The NADA DG said it is important to reduce the trend of new HIV infection in Nigerian youths through abstinence, and the use of condoms.
The PUNCH reports that Valentine’s Day is celebrated annually on February 14 to share love and gifts.
“The DG, NACA wants Nigerians, especially young people, to take advantage of the spirit of love and togetherness that Valentine’s Day signifies, to know their HIV status. It is important that all Nigerians know their HIV status, as it marks the entry point to the prevention, treatment, and care of HIV/AIDS.
“This occasion, though significant in the lives of people globally, brings a lot of cause to worry about, as the expression of love, especially among adolescents, youths, and other diverse populations most often fall out of context,” the statement read in part.
According to him, the valentine period is observed to witness a high rate of indiscriminate sexual activities and other amoral behaviours that lead to uninformed decisions leading to a high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
“Concerned about this development, the Director General of NACA, Dr. Gambo Aliyu, urges Nigerians, especially the youths to express love within the context of caring deeply for their loved ones with the intention to protect them from all forms of harm and avoiding risk factors that will make them vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and other STDs.
“As we express love for our partners during this Valentine’s Day, remember to love wisely. As members of a wider society, your health and productivity count to both your nuclear and extended families and the entire country.
“Nigeria stands to benefit from the pool of your contributions. So I urge you to desist from practices that might expose you to risks of contracting HIV/AIDS and/or other sexually transmitted diseases as we commemorate these special Days. Once again, I urge you to love wisely, share love, and not the virus,” it noted.
The NACA boss further reiterates that it is important to reduce the trend of new HIV infection in Nigerian youths through preaching abstinence, and for those who cannot abstain, to use a condom which prevents STDs including HIV and unwanted pregnancies.
“It has become important to ensure condom option is made available as a preventive measure to youths and people of reproductive age who cannot abstain from sex, with new HIV infections highest among young people aged 15-24 years and with the national data suggesting that about 4.2 per cent of young people (ages 15-24) are living with HIV.”
“As we express love on this day, remember to love wisely. As members of the wider society, your health and productivity are vital to the future of our country. So, I urge you to avoid risky behaviors as we commemorate Valentine’s Day. Love wisely, share love, not HIV,” the statement said.