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Last updateSam, 24 Jan 2015 10pm

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Health: AIDS control body warns Valentine Day's celebrants

Lagos, Nigeria - Nigeria's National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has warned against activities that could heighten the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), as the country joins the rest of the world to celebrant Valentine's Day, which is observed annually 14 Feb.

The day is usually marked by exchange of gifts, profession of love and amorous activities.

“Valentine Day as good as it may be has, however, brought up a worrisome aspect festering this celebration of love season. This is the high rate of indiscriminate sexual and other negative activities which are perpetrated on this day leading to uninformed decision making among adolescents,' the local media Friday quoted NACA Director General John Idoko as saying.

“In our quest to actualise a generation free from HIV/AIDS, NACA is advising that at this season of love, Nigerians should make informed decisions about their sexual engagements in order to halt the spread of the virus,” he said.

He cautions against unprotected sex in this period of love sharing, saying the consumption of alcohol had become a worrisome aspect and catalyst in the spread of HIV/AIDS among sexual active partners.

“Either good or bad, alcohol intake does influence an individual’s judgments and perceptions. It is widely observed that drinking alcohol leads to increased risky sexual behaviour, like not using protection to prevent HIV/AIDS, or having sex that you will regret you had.

“As we celebrate love at this period of Valentine Day, it is good to note that safe sex is not just about protecting oneself, but however protecting those we love. As a nation, we must all come together with our partners and loved ones to discuss HIV/AIDS epidemic and above all get tested, he said,“ the NACA boss said.

Pana 15/02/2014