Anti-AIDS Agency Issues Val’s Day Alert
• Says Love Carefully, Play Safe
THE Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Professor John Idoko, has urged Nigerians to “love carefully” and “play safe” as they celebrate Valentine’s Day.
A Lagos-based NGO, Project for Human Development (PHD), has equally lamented the corruption of the Day’s noble virtues. In a Valentine’s Day message, a spokesperson for the group, Chinemerem Adibe, said it is pathetic that at a time reserved for the celebration of love, many crimes, including murder and rape, are perpetrated.
In a statement, yesterday, Idoko enjoined people to know their HIV/AIDS status and encourage their partners to do the same, even as he warned against risky behaviours that might expose them to the AIDS virus.
“Besides the excitement of the day, people of all age groups, especially youths, are enjoined to strive to access correct and accurate information about the pandemic and abstain from sex.
“They should keep to a faithful partner. And use a condom when you don’t know where you are going or where you don’t know your partner,” he said.
He added: “Beyond the sweet words and exchange of gifts, young people and adult must be equipped with adequate information and education on how to ensure that Valentine’s Day celebration is not taken out of context. Valentine’s day is a time to show love and care to those we care about, including the less privileged around us.”
“Government, groups and eminent individuals,” he said, “should look at ways of providing more social and physical amenities that can engage young minds and keep them busy. More recreational parks, sport arenas, museums, tourist sites need to be developed, as this will provide opportunity for these young men and women to visit such places, instead of engaging in the already aforementioned risky behaviours.”
On the best way to mark the Day, Idoko said: “This is a special day for love. The only thing I tell people is that in your process of loving, love carefully, play safe, and that is very important. Young people, who haven’t had sex, should keep to abstinence, and those who have partners — faithful partners, should stick to their faithful partners. Above all, know your status.”