Last night a very worried Nigerian laboratory scientist called me and lamented that the number of people who test positive to HIV in the recent times is speedily increasing.One of the worrisome experiences she had was the case of a lady who vowed in her presence after having tested positive to spread the virus since she got it from someone else.
The most worrisome is that statistics show that Nigerian boys and girls born in the last 25 years are hardly worried about contacting the virus. They seem to be more concerned with the fear of pregnancy than being infected with the virus, she said.
Could it be that majority of them do not know how the virus spreads or that they simply don’t care? She pleaded with me to assist her call the attention of the media, parents, teachers, religious leaders, men and women of God, film producers, bloggers, comedians to this frightening situation.
1) Parents should as a matter of urgency begin afresh to educate their children and wards on this virus and on its transmission because many could be thinking that the virus has disappeared owing to the absence of public consciousness today.
2) With the rise of social media, parents should know that their children and wards are more prone to be lured to premarital sex than before. They should never leave them unguarded and unmonitored.
3) Schools should help in creating the awareness through constant seminars, workshops, posters and drama. Teachers should also keep an eye on pupils and students and should not fail to inform their parents in cases of strange behaviours.
4) The culture of sexual morality before marriage and within marriage that was/is demanded by our African traditions should be revived if we must survive as a people.
5) Would-be partners must undergo HIV screening before even the beginning of courtship.
6) Married people should please stay faithful to their partners.
7) Partners who happen to indulge in adultery (especially unprotected sex) are guilty of willingly infecting their partners if they do not ascertain themselves free of the virus through medical test, before resuming any sexual relations with their partners.
8) Priests, pastors, men and women of God should help in redirecting the mindset of the people by constantly emphasizing on this point especially through teaching by example.
9) Men and women suffering from hyper-sexual disorder should be kept away from children and vulnerable adults.
10) Sexual offenders should be made to face the law.
11) Parents must make sure that children are kept away from erotic visual or/and audio materials.
12) Everyone is advised to know his or her HIV status. If positive, one should bear in mind that it is not a death sentence. Simply keep to the doctor’s directions and take the antiretroviral medication. Remember that to knowingly infect another person with the virus equals murder.
13) When you know that someone who tested positive to the virus is on the mission to spread it, you are obliged in conscience to first talk to him or her and if he or she does not listen to you, you are obliged in conscience to inform the would-be victim(s) (when you know them)
14) One of the main reasons of multiple sex partners among girls and women has been traced to poor economic situation in the country. Girls are therefore advised to learn to be financially independent by learning handwork or trade. They should also learn contentment and also to cut their gowns according to their size. Men should also desist from exploiting our young women, especially those in material need and vulnerable.
15) We are living in perilous times. Sexual jamborees are not as harmless as we think. It is not just sex.
16) With adequate education on the virus, keeping to the rules, discipline and with the grace of God we shall reduce the spread and eventually eradicate the virus in our society.
God bless you all.