In a bid to end the scourge of HIV/AIDS, the Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has warned youths on the need for abstinence, protection,as the world marks Valentine's Day.
Dr Aliyu, made this known Monday, In Abuja during the commemoration of 2017 International Condom Day organised by the agency in collaboration with AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF).
He said that the agency would intensify training of Primary Health Care (PHC) personnel.
He said “The main message is that if you are not sexually active, abstinence is the best way to stop acquiring HIV/AIDS.
But if you are sexually active make sure you know your HIV/AIDS status and use a condom as much as possible to protect yourself."
On why the day coincides with the Valentine's Day celebration, Aliyu explained that this is because on this day youth could take risks that can affect the rest of their lives.
“If you don’t know your status, get tested and if you know your status make sure you are on treatment because it helps to stop transmission.
“Certainly, if you are sexually active try and use condom to prevent transmission,’’ he said
The Country Programme Manager for AHF, Dr Adetayo Towolawi, said that aside from abstinence, the use of condom is a veritable tool in the prevention of HIV/AIDS that is why condoms will never go out of style hence the theme "Always in fashion".
"In order to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS while you are expressing your sexuality, you need to take care of your reproductive health, here condoms comes in handy," he said.
AHF's Abuja Clinic Coordinator Dr. Kema Anthony Onu said that he believes that the message is getting through to the targeted audience, but the challenges is in the implementation.
He said "everybody knows about condom but not everybody wants to use it despite the fact that they are readily available that is the orientation we seek to change."
He however clarified that "We are not preaching sex, we are saying that abstinence is the most effective way to prevent HIV/AIDS but condom is the most realistic way, and we are being realistic in the face of the epidemic we are facing in terms of infection and death therefore we cannot over-emphasize the importance of condoms."
Miss health Nigeria, Rita Chinedu, called on youth to be safe rather than sorry. She that it is better to be safe than sorry and that all efforts to curb HIV/AIDS will be defeated if people take the necessary preventive measures.
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