Kids & Teens Resource Centre with support of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Nigeria, marked this year’s International Condom Day (ICD) with over 3,000 young people in Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
The event, themed ‘Safer is sexy’, which took place on Saturday, a day before Valentine’s Day, saw the organisers distribute nose marks and love condoms, supplied by AHF to the youths.
They reminded the youths of the importance of condoms and how they can help prevent unwanted pregnancies and STIs, including HIV.
As the world commemorates the International Condom Day on February 13, the CEO of HMGSF, Oluwadamisi Tayo-Ladega, encouraged the young people to desist from observing Valentine’s Day as Sex Day, saying that sex is not love.
Ladega said that many young people wouy engage in irresponsible sexual behaviour because of Val and “that may cost them a lifetime regret which may include contracting an infection or causing damage to their reproductive organs.”
It is estimated that every year, more than one million people acquire sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and estimated 80 million unintended pregnancies globally.
According to the organizers, the main mode of HIV transmission in the country is through sexual contact. However, an estimated 1.9 million people are living with HIV in Nigeria accounting for a prevalence of 1.4 percent.
“Among children aged 0–14 years, HIV prevalence is estimated to be 0.2 percent.”
“ The HIV prevalence of adolescents in Nigeria is estimated to be 3.5 percent, the highest among countries in West and Central Africa”, Ladega said.
As part of efforts to contribute to the reduction of HIV in Nigeria, Kids & Teens partners with local, state, national and international organizations to reduce new HIV infections and is focusing on prioritized populations in areas where there is concentrated epidemic and mixed epidemic typologies.
Lack of use of condoms is attributed to higher HIV prevalence in these priority populations that include adolescents and young people, key populations, people in discordant sexual partnerships and those in vulnerable populations such as people with disabilities.
According to Ladega, “Proper use of condoms has proven to contribute to reduction of HIV transmission and has stopped the abnormal spread of HIV in places where the epidemic is concentrated.
“A comprehensive condom program through advocacy and promotion, distribution and proper disposal and structured monitoring and evaluation strategies to promote the uptake and consistent use of condoms is imperative.”
Also speaking at the event, Martin-Mary Falana, the CEO of Kids & Teens, decried the general population’s attachment of sin to condom use.
Falana said, “Today, condoms still act as a barrier to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) including HIV infections by preventing bodily fluids such as semen and vaginal fluid that contain HIV.
When the young people complained about condoms failure, Martin-Mary responded that:
“Storing condoms at room temperature and regularly replacing condoms that are kept in a wallet, purse or pocket, checking the expiry date and discarding expired condoms, making sure the packaging is not damaged, and carefully opening the package without using sharp objects, using a new condom for every act of sex, using a new condom with every sex partner, using a condom for the entire act of sex, from start to finish, putting the condom on and taking it off correctly are some of the precautions to be observed.”
The global modelling analysis from the World Health Organisation (WHO), indicates that condoms use has averted around 50 million new HIV infections since the onset of the HIV epidemic.