By Sola Ogundipe
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, has admonished Nigerians to celebrate the Yuletide responsibly and with caution by avoiding risky behaviours that may contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country.
Director General of the Agency, Dr Sani Aliyu, who issued the caution in a message of felicitation with all Nigerians said indiscriminate sex was one of the commonest ways of spreading HIV/AIDS.
“ As you celebrate, we want to encourage everyone to avoid risky behaviors that may contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country.
“Christmas is that season of joy where the birth of Christ is celebrated around the eorld. This period, we demonstrate love by spending quality time together with loved ones and exchange variety of gift items among ourselves.
“However, people engage in indiscriminate sexual and other negatives activities during festive period which 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 through risky sexual behaviours,” Aliyu remarked.
He said NACA, in partnership with stakeholders, have taken bold steps to prevent new infection by consistently providing information, education, and making available HIV/AIDS related services to Nigerians irrespective of where they reside in the country.
“We must build on the successes recorded, as individuals, families and communities by ensuring deliberate efforts are put-in to avert new infection during every festive season and make efforts to know our HIV status, which remains the gateway to HIV prevention, care, support and treatment”.
Aliyu admonished the general public to ensure rules and standards for good behaviour are not relaxed because of the season.
‘’We must set limits and monitor abuses that may result to any form of negative activity that may expose us to HIV infection. As we celebrate, let us be role models that will spread information on HIV and resolve to show love to persons infected and affected by HIV.”’
Further, the DG urged the general public to know their status and to get free HIV test during the Christmas and New Year holiday period in any government hospital within their locality.