To celebrate 2019 International Condom Day (ICD), AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), is set to distribute 600, 000 free condoms across Abuja, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Anambra and Cross River States to promote prevention of STIs, HIV, unwanted pregnancies and create safer sex awareness.
AHF – Nigeria Advocacy and Marketing Manager, Steve Aborisade in a statement issued in Abuja today said the commemoration is usually observed on February 13th in conjunction with Valentine’s Day, but due to upcoming general elections, the grand finale of outreach activities across AHF states has been scheduled to hold on February 7, 2019.
Aborishade said AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over one million clients in 43 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe.
In the statement also, AHF-Nigeria Country Program Director, Dr. Echey Ijezie referenced the Nigerian National Condom Strategy which emphasised a deficit of 564 million condoms annually and, which must be met to achieve 90% condom coverage in the country.
According to Dr. Ijezie, ‘‘the National AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey 2012 indicates that despite increased awareness about condom in Nigeria there is still low uptake. Whereas, AHF is confident that when we keep reminding people about using condoms, and when we make it easy for them to access free condoms, we would have helped to reduce new HIV and STIs, prevent unwanted pregnancies, while promoting healthy lifestyle choices.
“Condoms are still the cheapest and best option we have for preventing HIV and STDs, in addition to unwanted pregnancies,” said AHF Chief of Global Policy and Advocacy Terri Ford. “Our ICD events are a fun way to bring people together and get them information about how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe and healthy. International Condom Day also helps remind people that there is still an HIV crisis across the globe.”
“Promoting safe sex practices is also incredibly important in a time when funding for global health has remained flat for the last several years,” added AHF President Michael Weinstein. “That lack of funds also includes money for condoms, so it’s critical that we get the message out about how important they are for staying healthy and disease-free, particularly in countries that experience higher prevalence rates for HIV.
The Country Director however, maintained that abstinence from sex, for those who can, remains very effective in preventing STIs and unplanned pregnancies.