The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) says Nigerians, especially the youth, should avoid unprotected sex on Valentine’s Day.

In a statement signed by Toyin Aderibigbe, the agency’s spokesperson, NACA said Nigerians should share love and not HIV.

“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.

“The DG NACA urges Nigerians, especially the youths, to express love within the context of caring deeply for their loved ones and avoid risky behaviour that will make them vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and other STDs.”

Sani Aliyu, NACA DG, was quoted as saying at least 15 percent of Nigerian youth lose their virginity before the age of 15 and 4.2 percent of youth between the ages of 15 and 24 have HIV.

He said it was important that all Nigerians know their HIV status, as it marks the entry point to prevention, treatment and care of HIV/AIDS.

“The DG noted that first sexual contact in Nigeria begins at less than 15 years for 15 percent of Nigeria’s youth. 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 percent of young people know their HIV status.

“It is important to reduce this worrying trend among Nigerian youths by encouraging faithful relationship.”

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