The director-general, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) Dr. Gambo Aliyu has urged Nigerians, especially young people, to take advantage of the spirit of love and togetherness that Valentine’s Day signifies, to know their HIV status.
“It is important that all Nigerians know their HIV status, as it marks the entry point to Prevention, Treatment and Care of HIV/AIDS.
‘’A young person not tested may not have the opportunity to enjoy future Valentine’s Days if he or she is diagnosed late or presents with terminal complications related to HIV infection and AIDS,” he said.
He said this period is particularly noted for young people expressing their love for one another. This could lead to impulsive decisions such as unprotected sex resulting in unplanned pregnancies and an increased risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS.
Aliyu urges youths to express love within the context of caring deeply for their loved ones and avoid risky behavior that will make them vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and other STDs.
“This, coupled with the practice of having multiple sexual partners increases HIV vulnerability among the youth population alongside the very low HIV testing rates only 17% of young people know their HIV status.