Dr Kema Onu, FCT Coordinator, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), says condom is the only realistic measure to end HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) by 2030.
Onu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday that HIV had been in existence since 1986 with attendant damages.
He spoke to NAN at a free testing and counseling event organised by the organisation to mark the 2021 International Condom Day (ICD).
The ICD is organised by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in collaboration with National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA).
AHF sets aside every Feb. 12 to commemorate international condom day, aimed at creating awareness on the benefits of condom in both prevention of HIV, Sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.
According to Onu, `HIV is real’ and condom is the only realistic measure of ending the pandemic by 2030.
“In medicine, condom is the only realistic measure to prevent HIV/AIDS and STIs when people consistently and correctly use it.
““Condoms are always in fashion, let us continue to use in a correct way.
“Testing is also a very important component in reducing HIV/AIDS,’’ Onu, who is also a medical practitioner, told NAN.
He expressed the determination of AHF to continue to mitigate the spread of HIV through events including the International Condom Day, whereby people are given free condom and testing.
He described HIV/AIDS as another pandemic ravaging humanity that the world should not look down on.
“HIV is another pandemic that we should not look down on; that is why we tried to incorporate services that are related to HIV with COVID-19.
“In centres where we have COVID-19 testing, we also want to include HIV testing to awaken the consciousness of persons to realise that while you are fighting COVID-19, HIV is other pandemic indeed,’’ he said.
The AHF state coordinator urged the Nigerian government to domesticate the production of antiretroviral drugs and other HIV containment measures for a HIV free nation.
“Only an independent realistic and reliable roadmap is paramount in sustaining the fight against HIV.
“Over dependence on foreign donors is not going to help us in the fight against HIV, we should think of producing these test kits and drugs in the country,’’ the AHF FCT Coordinator said.
Also speaking, Mr Ayo Salihu, one of the beneficiaries of the free testing, thanked AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) for the opportunity to examine his HIV status.
Salihu said that HIV is real and had remained a big health challenge to all sexually active persons especially the youths.
He advised the youths to use condom during valentine as preventive mechanism against HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
Ms Lilian Eze, a student of Nasarawa State University, lauded the AHF for the free HIV testing and condom, saying that condom was key to end HIV.
Eze called on the youths to always play safe in sexual activities by using condom no matter the circumstances.
The free HIV/AIDS testing and counselling as well as distribution of condoms took place at various locations including Mabushi and Galadimawa in the FCT.