Where Are the 3.5 million Nigerians Infected with HIV/AIDS? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Where Are the 3.5 million Nigerians Infected with HIV/AIDS?

Posted: Nov 30, 2016 at 6:02 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

 

By Dimosthenis Sakellaridis

The intention of the title is not to scare or stigmatize any reader but to generate an intelligent discussion about the scourge of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.  In a country of 189 million people, 3.5 million may seem like an insignificant number. However, I know of some countries whose populations are less than 3.5 million people and I cannot imagine what the future of such a country would look like if all their citizens were infected with HIV/AIDS. The picture of such an imagination would be a monumental tragedy of devastating proportions! Horrendous statistics in Nigeria pegs the HIV/AIDS infected population at 3.5 million and either way you look at it, it is no mean figure.

HIV is spread when blood, semen, or vaginal fluids from an infected person enter another person’s body, usually through sexual contact, from sharing needles when injecting drugs, or from mother to baby during birth. Many reasons have been adduced for the increasing scourge. One of the top reasons is poor needle and condom use. In the current harrowing economy, sexual pleasure will be a top recreational activity and that possibly means increased unprotected sex for individuals seeking short term pleasure to long-term economic struggles.

If such a large number of Nigerians are infected with HIV/AIDS according to National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), then a larger population of Nigerians must be interacting with them one way or the other. Some of the 3.5 million may be married to someone or be related to another as son, daughter, cousin, in-law, brother, sister, niece, nephew, aunt or uncle. The infected ones may be relating to other people as friends, neighbours, customers, clients or colleagues. One way or the other, we are all connected to them. Some others tragically may be relating to these infected ones as sexual partners. When you look at 3.5 million holistically, then you realize that it is not a strange distant figure in another city or territory. It is very close to home and that is scary! If these infected people are Nigerians, then other Nigerians are connected to them one way or the other. So, when experts advise individuals to stay safe especially in sexual relationships, sharp people are smart to listen and adhere.

In retrospection, I am positive that if any of these individuals were infected through unprotected intercourse, they would wish they had done something differently. By something, I mean use a condom every time they had sex. So many people find condom use boring. Others believe that condom use gets in the way of full sexual pleasure or excitement. I understand their reservations especially if they have never heard of the Fiesta Premium condoms available in 12 different variants of colours, textures, shapes, flavours, thickness and sizes, so that individuals can enjoy a different, exciting and pleasurable experience every time they have sex. Fiesta condoms puts the ‘F’ in Fun and is backed by DKT Nigeria’s symbols of excellence; ‘Effective, Safe, Affordable and Quality’ (ESAQ). Fiesta premium Condoms are great choice because they can prevent both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), so whenever you use Fiesta condoms, you get double protection combined with pleasure every time.

I have heard that so many reasons people avoid using condoms. Top on the list is condoms reduce pleasure. I believe this reason is given because they don’t know about Fiesta Ultra-Thin brand that is as close to skin as you get without that “rubber” tastes that can be a real turn off. When another person says using condom is boring, it is because they have not used the Fiesta dotted condom with more than 500 pleasure dots on the surface to increase stimulation for both partners and the Fiesta ribbed condom with more than 50 pleasure rings to increase stimulation for both partners. A favourite with Nigerian men is the Fiesta Original Black (a.k.a. Baba dudu) condoms which are gently lubricated, black condoms to increase pleasure for you and your partner and give you a real ‘Black man’s condom experience’. There is even a Fiesta Glow condoms popularly called Ochu Uzo (Pathfinder) because it is luminous and glows in the dark even defying power failure to find its target.

The number of ladies engaged in commercial sex may increase because the challenging economy could push many promising young girls into the tackiness of prostitution. Many of them would choose the horrendous career path unaware of the tragedies that are embedded within especially the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and death! It is very unfortunate. But that is the plain truth. Women and young girls suffering under the agony of poverty may soon choose the ‘easy’ way out through prostitution and they may not know that they can even protect themselves although in very unpalatable profession.  These women or girls are related to people. They have families and friends who may not be aware that they are related to a person within the enemy lines of infection with HIV/AIDS. This is a tragedy especially when you imagine the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. This is not to stigmatise the PLWHA but any population of people living with HIV/AIDS should be treated with the utmost importance especially as the global community celebrates World AIDS Day on December 1st, 2016.

I am positive that engaging in positive sexual behaviours including the use of condoms to prevent STDs will greatly reduce the increasing scourge of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. If awareness can be created to alter behaviour change, I am positive that the scourge of HIV/AIDS can be stemmed on several fronts especially the youths who are the major victims of the scourge.

Sakellaridis is the Country Director of DKT International Nigeria

 

 

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