By Ike Uchechukwu, Calabar
The National Association of Seadogs, NAS,Pyrates Confraternity, Frigate Deck in collaboration with Magna-Carta Deck(United Kingdom) have taken a sensitization and free HIV /AIDS test to students and residents of Akpabuyo Local government area in Cross River State.
The sensitization and testing were carried out at two different locations including Community Secondary School,Ikot Ewa and Ikot offiong- Ambai,Akpabuyo respectively.
The exercise was part of the association’s effort in creating awareness about HIV/AIDS to youths and residents of Local government and also part of its activities to mark World AIDS day.
While addressing a Cross-section of Students on the need to abstain from sex which was part of ways to prevent the spread of the virus, the Cross River State Coordinator of National Association of Seadog’s, NAS, Engr Solomon Olorunfemi told them that it was pivotal they took their studies serious instead of engaging in sex at an early age.
Engr. Olorunfemi said that “unwholesome” involvement in sex could lead to various STI as well as HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancy which could truncate their education especially the girls.
He called on the students to stay focused on their studies as it was the main reason why they were in school so as to become valuable individuals that can make an optimal contribution to the growth and development of society.
In his words: “He said the epidemic seems to have taken the back stage because of the vaccines that have been so far developed but that doesn’t mean the Virus is no longer there.
“The advent of other viruses including COVID-19 now at the centre stage has made HIV/AIDS look as if it’s been relegated with awareness about almost neglected, but we as an association with the best interest of humanity are still on it trying to make these young ones understand and live healthy and better,” he said.
Speaking further, he cautioned the students that sexual intercourse was a higher source of distraction and could cause distraction and eventually truncate their education.
He also called on government to have a rethink as it concerns HIV /AIDS as the statistics were still alarmingly disturbing.
“What we do as NAS is very minute, we are calling on the government to create more awareness and sensitise the people especially the youths as it concerns the Virus because it is not yet over, they should make the populace to understand that the Virus is still there,” he said.
On her part, the Principal of the School lauded NAS for their magnanimity and also choosing to bring such a huge exercise to her school.
“I want to thank them for choosing our school, I know the impact their visit has made on our school today, and we really appreciate their gesture,” she said.
Vanguard learned that about 100 persons were also tested for HIV at Ikot Offiong- Ambai on a voluntary basis in a bid to start their treatment early .
Olorunfemi said that HIV/AIDS was not a death sentence but early testing was key to managing it effectively which was why the association decided to also carry out counselling and testing of residents of Ikot Offiong-Ambai in Akpabuyo .