AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has called for increased access to affordable condoms around the world to help prevent HIV and sexually transmitted infections—along with promoting healthy lifestyles.
The events under the popular theme “Always in Fashion” is in commemoration of the International Condom Day (ICD).
AHF Marketing and Advocacy Manager, Steve Aborisade in a press statement sent to LEADERSHIP said COVID-19 has impacted many aspects of our lives, and access to condoms was unfortunately not spared from the effects of the pandemic.
He said there’s need to remind people globally of the importance to have access to free and affordable condoms—which are still the best way to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STI), including HIV.
Aborisade said, “Obstacles created by the pandemic have further reinforced the necessity and importance of advocacy to prioritize access to condoms. For young people, “Always in Fashion” is life-affirming and essential to curbing HIV and STI rates.
“ICD was started by AHF in 2008 with the aim of promoting creative condom marketing and their use, because condoms are still the most cost-effective method for preventing STIs and unplanned pregnancies. The annual celebration is observed globally in conjunction with Valentine’s Day—and AHF Nigeria have exciting and informative virtual and in-person “Always in Fashion” events planned for 2021!
This year, between 12th – 14th of February, AHF-Nigeria is teaming up with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), to produce and air an innovative jingle that highlights safer sexual practices and that also harps on abstinence. Also with NACA, a testing campaign is being run with a notable radio station in Abuja, ‘Berekete family’ given the reach of the station, while at the NACA office, stakeholders shall gather for the dissemination of the Condom Access and Utilization Survey conducted in 2020 to ensure gaps identified in the survey are streamlined in interventions. Importantly, AHF-Nigeria with NACA is also partnering with Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), the training arm of Nigeria’s foremost investigative newspaper for a Tweet-meet to engage Nigerians on the challenges, opportunities and gaps needing to be bridged in our condom programming, while that presents an opportunity to interact directly with the people.
‘‘Across our program states of: Abuja, Kogi, Anambra, Nasarawa, Akwa Ibom, Benue and Cross River state, AHF-Nigeria shall be providing free HIV testing and promote healthy lifestyles with the year’s theme of the ICD, “Always in Fashion”, while we distribute free condoms to Nigerians, said Dr. Echey Ijezie, AHF-Nigeria Country Program Director.
“Lockdowns and restrictions due to COVID-19 have been an ongoing threat to condom access, particularly in countries where stockouts and other barriers already made it difficult for people to get condoms,” said AHF Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy Terri Ford.
“AHF remains committed to ensuring people everywhere have access to free or affordable condoms, and our ‘Always in Fashion’ ICD events hosted by AHF’s global country teams are just one way we do that. We encourage everyone in the 45 countries where we operate to find an entertaining event near you and spread the word on the importance of condoms and condom access for all.”
AHF President Michael Weinstein in his remarks said “We have always placed condom access high on our priority list. International Condom Day gives us a platform to call for governments and public health institutions to ensure that people have the tools to protect themselves and their loved ones, which is especially important when we’re still seeing 1.7 million new HIV infections every year. That’s simply not acceptable when we have the means to distribute condoms to people worldwide to keep them safe from preventable diseases.”