As Nigerians, particularly youths join the rest of the world today to mark Valentine’s Day season of love activities, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, has cautioned against engaging in activities that could heighten the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections, STIs.
Director General of the Agency, Professor John Idoko, who made the call in Abuja yesterday, recognised Valentine Day as a period where gratitude of love is demonstrated between individuals through gestures of affection such as flowers, perfumes and clothes among other gift items.
He said: “Valentine Day as good as it may be, has however, brought up a worrisome aspect festering this celebration of love season. This is the high rate of indiscriminate sexual and other negative activities which are perpetrated on this day leading to uninformed decision making among adolescents.
“In our quest to actualise a generation free from HIV/AIDS, NACA is advising that at this season of love, Nigerians should make informed decisions about their sexual engagements in order to halt the spread of the virus”.
Reminding Nigerians on the need to be principled and to abstain, or indulge only in protected sex at this period of love sharing, Idoko lamented that consumption of alcohol had become a worrisome aspect and catalyst in the spread of HIV/AIDS among sexual active partners.
“Either good or bad, alcohol intake does influence an individual’s judgments and perceptions. It is widely observed that drinking alcohol leads to increased risky sexual behaviour, like not using protection to prevent HIV/AIDS, or having sex that you will regret you had.
“As we celebrate love at this period of Valentine Day, it is good to note that safe sex is not just about protecting oneself, but however protecting those we love. As a nation, we must all come together with our partners and loved ones to discuss HIV/AIDS epidemic and above all get tested”, he said.