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It is World AIDS Day again; every December 1, has been set aside for this celebration globally. The celebration serves as an avenue to sensitize the general public on the reality of the existence of HIV/AIDS; causes, effects and preventive measures.

With the prevalence of HIV/AIDS virus, many people ensnared by money are, under the pretext of preventing HIV/AIDS, helping to spread the dreaded disease by recommending different HIV prevention methods via aggressive commercial adverts, seminars/workshop. Many of such groups, whether governmental, non-governmental, religious or non-religious, have all come up with various forms of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, most of which is the use of condom.

Truth has to be told, encouraging the use of condom to prevent HIV/AIDS is deceptive and a big lie. A few years ago, some individual were infected with HIV despite their correct and consistent use of condom. These infected individuals went ahead to sue the Federal government, organizations and institutions that promote condom use as a means to prevent HIV/AIDS to court because they are passing the wrong information to the public.

Data collection has been relatively difficult in Africa and other third world countries, but for example, STDs affect no fewer than 12 million men and women in the US every year. Anyone can become infected through sexual intercourse with an infected person. STD infection, especially HIV and AIDS spread as wild fire because during the early stage, there may be no symptoms, or symptoms may be easily mistaken for other illnesses. Generally to both sexes, it causes damages to the infected persons. Such damages include damage to the heart, blood, kidney, brain and other vital organs and they ultimately lead to death.

Over the years, World AIDS Day has always been turned to a day for the exaltation of condom. It is pathetic, but that is the reality. It is disgusting to see that in a situation that is no clear and distinct like this, where the issue of morality should be well championed, the youths are being encouraged to engage themselves in indiscriminate sex by offering condom as their shield and protector – indeed, their god!

The epidemic is higher in the developing nations, and the best solution that the developed nations could offer is condom. The developing nations have turned to a lucrative market for condom, thus promoting the economic growth of the developed nations even in their abject poverty. I watch and hear television and radio adverts encouraging our youths to practice safe sex through the use of condoms. Young people are made to believe that condoms and pills will protect them from unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and AIDS. They are neither encouraged to exercise self-discipline nor taught how to handle sexual pressure, instead; they are falsely led to believe that premarital sex is okay as long as they are use the condom or any other contraceptive. This information is wrong. The truth is that safe sex, in the true sense of the word, has nothing to do with the use of contraceptives. Safe sex in its truest form means purity and faithfulness to one’s spouse in marriage; it obviously has nothing to do with single people or the youth. AIDS is really a profound human strategy. It is a big threat to our society. So many young people, even older people are living with it today. HIV has no vaccine; AIDS has no cure yet, except for the use of Anti-Retroviral treatment which helps to prolong a patient’s life.

The strategy of Federal government and some organizations in fighting AIDS is Abstinence, Be faithful and Condom. This strategy is fundamentally faulty. Abstinence and condom-use are no two alternative strategies in fighting AIDS and STDs. Abstinence is 100 percent effective while condom-use is not. It has been proved that condom-use cannot stem the tide of HIV infections. Condoms are very easy to distribute, but virtue, especially chastity is difficult but not impossible to impart to people who are already having sex. Uganda remains a country that have been able to reduce the rate of HIV in their through the right emphasis of abstinence and fidelity by their President and his wife.

The Project for Human Development (PHD) basically as the first pro-abstinence NGO in Nigeria in commemorating with the World AIDS Day take to the streets to sensitize the public both young and old that HIV/AIDS and other STDs can only be prevented through the virtue of practicing abstinence from sex before marriage and faithfulness to an uninfected partner in marriage. The message we take to the streets is “CONDUCT NOT CONDOM”. PHD has been able to make much impact through the promotion of character-based abstinence education, teaching values to schools-and-out-of schools youth, influencing public opinion and decision makers through well articulated position in public debates. Thus, while other organizations are focused on promoting the use of condoms are only paying lip service to abstinence from sex before marriage and fidelity in marriage, PHD promotes abstinence-based only education among teens.

Abstinence education is critical to the health and wholeness of our nation’s children since it is what provides 100% protection from pre-marital pregnancy and STDs and the resultant physical, emotional and spiritual abstinence through distribution of age-appropriate, factual and medically accurate material. To PHD, one of the effects of the protracted period of moral decline of young people is the disappearance of the chaste and pure youth. It is either they had disappeared completely or that young people are ashamed to acclaim their virginity. Sadly, we reached a stage where a cardinal virtue became a vice. Therefore, let us make this year’s World AIDS Day different from how it used to be. Condoms should not be encouraged since from every indication it is not 100% efficient as it has invisible holes of about 5.0 micron in diameter while HIV has 0.1 micron diameter in size, this means that the virus can easily penetrate the condom. Condoms can slip away, torn open etc. Abstinence once again should be encouraged as that is only sure means of preventing HIV/AIDS and other STDs.

Chinemerem Adibe is a staff of Project for Human Development (PHD)

A Lagos based NGO