HIV/AIDS spread: Stakeholders advocate condom dialogue

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Some stakeholders have advocated for condom dialogue before sex among couples to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.
They spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines an HIV/AIDS Expanded Preventive Awareness Project, at Ijebu-Ode, Ogun.
The event was organised by Total Nigeria Plc and Total Upstream Nigeria Ltd., is in collaboration with its partners – NNPC/NAPIMS, CCNOC, SAPETRO and Petrobas and the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NIBUCAA).
According to them, studies show that the spread of HIV is more among spouses than commercial sex workers, as most spouses have sex without condoms with their partners, believing they are safe.
Mr James Gbenga of Sam Ade Royal Foundation, who collaborated with NIBUCAA for the programme, said: “Ijebu Ode has the largest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the country.
“This is according to the 2018 Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS), a Federal Government survey on HIV/AIDS conducted in December 2018 /January 1, 2019.
“It was discovered that commercial sex workers do not have it because they are using condoms, they are well informed.
“The survey discovered that between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, HIV keeps spreading. Why?’’
Gbenga explained that this is because of the “I trust my husband, I trust my wife’’ attitude.
“The African mentality is that anytime the husband comes, you can’t refuse him sex.
“There is no dialogue before or during sex; it is such that when he is ready, the woman has to be ready.
“It makes most of the women to be vulnerable of HIV/AIDS.
“A spouse may be having unprotected sex with another sex partner who also has another sex partner and the cycle widens, thereby putting themselves at risk of contacting the disease.
“That is why we keep enlightening people that dialogue with your husband, wife on condom usage is very important.
“And if you are not using condom, make sure you regularly run tests to know your status,’’ he said.
Gbenga told NAN that the aim of the programme, which included free HIV/AIDS testing and counselling services, was to deliver a comprehensive and preventive health education.
According to him, this will ensure uninfected persons stay free of the epidemic, while already infected persons receive the necessary support through free HIV Counselling /Testing Services and referral to government established hospitals in their vicinity for treatment.
Also speaking, Mrs Mrs Bunmi Popoola-Mordi, the Executive General Manager, Total Country Services, said that prevention is the watchword in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
According to her, “it is less expensive and less complicated to cure, indeed the only known cure’’.
She said that achieving an AIDS-Free generation would be possible with the required financial, political and selfless commitment from everyone.
She urged Nigerians, especially couples and sexually active persons, to regularly go for testing to know their HIV status.
Also, Dr Kevin Madu told NAN that while abstinence remains the best protection against Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV, condoms play a special role in combating the spread.
“Condoms protect against the sexual transmission of HIV; it has no known side effects.
“Also, since condoms also prevent pregnancy, couples can use them for dual protection against infection and unintended pregnancy; there should be more enlightenment on the benefits and appropriate usage of condoms.’’
Madu, however, said that HIV can be found in the blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids and breast milk of a person who has HIV.
“HIV can be spread by having sex or sharing injection drug equipment, such as needles, contact between broken skin, wounds or mucous membranes of an HIV infected person.
“It can also be got through the transfusion of infected blood,’’ he said. (NAN)

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