By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
As the world marks International Condom Day yesterday, foundations across the country have shifted their activities to Valentines Day to enable it champion advocacies across the country.
Valentine’s Day, meant to strengthen relationship amongst couples has been hijacked by youths and teens to indulge in various sexual activities. This trend has made Organisations to cease the opportunity of the Valentine’s Day to intensify campaigns on the use of condoms to stop the spread of HIV.
Already, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), said it will distribute 300,000 condoms and test 43,000 people for HIV on International Condom Day.
Condom Day which is Celebrated on February 13th, just a day before valentine, will create more awareness about the use of condom.
The foundation stated this in a statement issued recently in Abuja by its Advocacy & Marketing Manager, Steve Aborisade.
The statement said the foundation which is the largest global AIDS organization operating in 39 countries, again observed in conjunction with Valentine’s Day – by promoting prevention of STDs, including HIV and unwanted pregnancies through free condom distribution, safer sex awareness events and HIV Testing Services (HTS).
“AHF will activate over 50 ICD events worldwide including in six states of Nigeria: Anambra, Benue, Cross River, Kogi, Nasarawa and Abuja.
“Across these states, AHF Nigeria shall conduct both static and mobile HIV testing as well as hold public ceremonies to provide condom education while free HIV brands of condoms shall be distributed to encourage safer sexual practices.
“AHF notes the trend of early sexual debut in Nigeria, which according to UNICEF data begins at less than 15 years for 15% of Nigeria’s youth. This, coupled with the practice of having multiple sexual partners increases HIV vulnerability among the youth population alongside the very low HIV testing rates – only 17% of young people know their HIV status (UNAIDS 2017 Data Book). Whereas Nigeria accounts for almost half of all new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa every year according to UNAIDS”.
The statement also quoted AHF Acting Country Program Manager, Mr. Greg Abiaziem, as saying, “it is important to reduce the trend of new HIV infection in Nigerian youth through preaching abstinence, and for those who cannot abstain to use 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 who can’t 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% of young people (ages 15-24) are living with HIV.”
Also, AHF Chief of Global Policy, Advocacy and Marketing,, Terri Ford said “Condoms are under attack in the realm of global public health with governments and international agencies slashing funds. This will most likely lead to more infections worldwide – but thankfully, International Condom Day is a way to reinvigorate the message that condoms are a fun and fashionable way to protect oneself and one’s partner while reinforcing the tenet that condoms should be available for free to anyone who needs them.”
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 855,000 clients in 39 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe.
Also in Jos, the Plateau state capital, Fahariya Adolescent Development Network (FAANET) said the will also intensify its campaigns on the use of condom.
FAANET Monitoring And Evaluation Officer, Tohomdet Solomon told Peoples Daily that the organization had in the past worked with different target groups most especially youths and women in different communities in Plateau, Nassarawa and Bauchi states.
“We work mostly in areas of HIV prevention strategies, care and support, Family Planning and General Reproductive Education. Since most of our activity is with the youths, we emphasize on condom distribution and education as one of the most commonest means of preventing new HIV infection and other STIs, unwanted pregnancies and family planning for married couples.
“FAANET implemented the PLACA/NACA HAF II project (World Bank assisted) from 2015 and extended to 2017 based on our high performance. Within the period of the project, FAANET undertook awareness creation and distribution of condom aimed at educating the various community members on this means of preventing HIV infection and other STIs.
“In the past, there had been much of myths and misconceptions on the use of this strategy; but as a result of this project, the community members gained better understanding of this product, where we were able to receive and distributed a total of 58,980 male condoms and 2 cartons of female condoms. The organization is still distributing the material to its clients daily since our office is located in the heart of the city of Jos.”
Speaking on the importance of condom, the Northern Director of Rural Health Development Centre Nigeria, Oliver E. Nwodoh, said Condom is a medical rubber device that was manufactured to reduce the spread of STIs.
“Condoms when used correctly are the best way to prevent HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as Gonorrhoea, chlamydia, candidiasis, trichomoniasis, gardnerella, chancroid, syphilis, lymphogranuloma, herpes genitalis etc.
“Condoms of both male and females have a very low failure and effective for all sexual activities. However, one must not forget that condom as a medical rubber device must meet an essential standard by undergoing quality tests as I earlier stated. Condoms with European CE marks are always the best. And don’t forget to always check the expiry date before using.”
As precaution, he advised on the use of new condom “each time you have sex. Put on the condom before any form of sexual contact. Avoid using an oil based lubricant or petroleum jelly on condoms to avoid splitting. Withdraw from your sex partner immediately after ejaculation. If condom splits during sex, discontinue the sexual activity immediately and clean up. Insert a new condom before you continue. It is the duty of every health worker, or medical practitioners to always educate the public on how to work towards disease and epidemic free society. Please learn to use condom today and stay safe.”