By Sola Ogundipe
IN the spirit of the yuletide, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, has called on Nigerians about the need to avoid engaging in risky behaviour that can propel the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country.
In a goodwill message, the Agency reminded Nigerians to share and show the symbol of love responsibly, so that Nigeria, as a nation can halt the spread of HIV.
In the message entitled; “Christmas and HIV/AIDS: Call For Massive HIV Testing in Nigeria” the Director General of the Agency, Dr. Sani Aliyu admonished all Nigerians to shun indiscriminate sexual and other negative activities during the yuletide that can lead to uninformed decision making.
“NACA is appealing to the general public that, in sharing gifts among our loved ones, we should not share HIV and to also demonstrate our love by avoiding risky sexual behaviour.”
In the statement, the NACA boss urged all Nigerians to take deliberate and bold steps to know their HIV status.
“Statistics show that only about 10 percent of Nigerians has ever taken an HIV test once, this is a major challenge which must be address urgently. The only gateway to HIV prevention, care and treatment remains HIV counseling and testing, so if we must win the battle, the percentage of Nigerians that test for HIV must move from the current statistics to at least 90 percent.
“Our New Year resolutions must include knowing our HIV status and showing love affection to person’s infected and affected by HIV. As we go about enjoying the Christmas and New Year holidays, let us do everything moderately, avoid risky behaviours that can lead to HIV infection.
“It is good to abstain from sex if you are not married, use condom consistently and correctly if you cannot abstain and remain faithful our spouses. Let us avoid the abuse of alcohol/drugs, it is important to drink responsibly if you must as most decisions taken under the influence might not be the best which may be regrettable later on.
“Get tested today, however the outcome of the result, if you are negative, you will learn how to remain negative and if it turns out positive, you will commence treatment immediately which is free in all government hospitals and selected private hospital. It’s still a win-win.”