By Talatu Maiwada
Abuja – Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), an NGO, says the prevalence of HIV and AIDS infections is highest among youths between the ages of 15 to24.
The Site Coordinator, AHF Clinic, Dr Kema Onu, said this on the sideline of the procession of the 2018 World Condom Day, in conjunction with Valentine’s Day.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that AHF distributed 300,000 condoms to commemorate World Condom Day, themed “Always in Fashion’’, a global event celebrated annually on Feb. 13.
“According to UNICEF, the trend of early sexual debut in Nigeria begins at less than 15 years, for 15 per cent of Nigeria’s youth.
“The National Health Survey Data also suggests that about 4.2 per cent of young people 15 to 24 years are living with HIV and AIDS.
“Sexual practices are higher among youths; they also have the highest prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the country.
“This is because as over the years as national response on HIV epidemic reduces, the prevalence of HIV among this targeted population has not changed,’’ he said.
He cautioned parents on the need to be more realistic while teaching the message of abstinence and condom use.
Onu said as teenagers begin to understand human biology and sexual relationships, parents should demystify sex by calling the sexual organs by its actual name as penis, vagina and breast, among others.
“While we want to make condom use and HIV testing services age appropriate in our homes and communities, we have to be realistic.
“This is because current data, shows that over 220,000 new infections are recorded every year for HIV and AIDS, 100,000 AIDS related deaths recorded every year.
“If we want to be ideal we talk about abstinence, but today we preach condom use because is the most realistic way of preventing the HIV, unwanted pregnancies and STDs.
“Condoms are always in fashion and still remains one of the best methods for preventing HIV, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs),’’ he said.
Queen Esther Ouonye, Miss Health Africa, also urged youths to play safe and take responsibility for their sexual and reproductive health to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies as they celebrate valentine’s days.
Ouonye stated that safety should come before pleasure, adding that youths should abstain from sexual activities or take precaution by using condom.
She further advised on the importance to use condoms correctly and consistently.
NAN reports that AHF 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. (NAN)
By Talatu Maiwada