The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has stated that about one million people worldwide contract a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) every day.
AHF Nigeria Country Programme Director, Dr. Echey Ijezie, who disclosed this at an event to mark the 2022 International Condom Day (ICD) in Abuja, yesterday, also noted that the world records about 1.5 million new HIV transmissions yearly.
Ijezie stated that AHF Nigeria has distributed over 20 million free condoms in the country and would continue to support the national condom policy of the government by broadening access of Nigerians to condoms as the most affordable and effective means of preventing STIs, including HIV and unplanned pregnancies.
He added: “In addition to the emoji campaign, AHF country teams from most of its 45 countries of operation will host exciting and informative “Safer is Sexy” and “Always in Fashion” ICD events. ICD festivities are always fun and a great way to remind the world that condoms remain the most cost-effective method for preventing sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
“In Nigeria, advocates shall be joining AHF Nigeria in Calabar and Ikom, Cross Rivers State for a walk to create awareness and distribute free condoms, as well as provide free HIV testing to the people.
“This walk is in collaboration with the Cross River State Ministry of Health, while there is also a media component that sees safe sex education on airwaves. In Abuja, AHF Nigeria is partnering with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) for a night event on Valentine’s Day to distribute free condoms and also test people for HIV.
“Also in Abuja, AHF Nigeria Girls Act members shall be reaching their peers with condom education and tips on safer sex practices. Across other AHF Nigeria states of Benue, Kogi, Anambra, Nasarawa and Akwa Ibom, our teams shall be conducting free HIV testing and give out free condoms to the people.
“It’s time we drop the stigma around condoms and make it easier to communicate about having safer sex.”
AHF Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy, Terri Ford, noted that introducing a condom emoji across all digital platforms would be a step in the right direction.
“We must speak the language that reaches young people who are most at risk. Additionally, like with COVID-19 vaccines, the pandemic continues to create even more barriers to condom access for millions of people globally. Governments and public health institutions must make access to free or affordable condoms a top priority since they are the most affordable way to prevent HIV, other STIs and unplanned pregnancies.”