The Honorable Speaker of Ndigbo Youth Parliament (NYP), Rt. Hon. Rikki Nwajiofor, has called on Nigerians, especially the Youth, to reach out to those infected with HIV and constantly pray for them.
In an interview granted to the media on Wednesday, WORLD AIDS DAY, Rt. Hon. Nwajiofor urged the citizens not to see those infected with HIV as outcasts but should be taken care of as most of them are victims of circumstances. He equally called on the government to intensify the HIV awareness campaign at the grassroots and make the antiretroviral drugs accessible to HIV patients at the grassroots. He said;
“As the world has mapped out today, known as WORLD AIDS DAY, to identify with those who are infected with HIV, I sincerely urge my fellow Nigerians, more especially the Youth, to always reach out to those living with HIV.
“They should never be abandoned nor treated as outcasts but should be well taken care of and always given sense of belonging. I am glad that the awareness campaign being carried out on HIV/AIDS has actually mitigated the rate of infection in most states. The awareness has also given the infected ones some sense of belonging and reason to carry on with their normal lives while taking their antiretroviral drugs.
“In the past, when the victims were socially castigated, some of them committed suicide while some intentionally passed it onto other unsuspecting citizens as a way of retaliation. However, through the awareness campaigns being carried out, majority of the infected persons are not ashamed to go for their weekly counselling as they stick to the antiretroviral drugs. Most of the infected ones, who are constant in taking the antiretroviral drugs, appear healthier than some unaffected persons; some of them appear more pretty and fresh.
“I urge the government to map out more resources for the provision of antiretroviral drugs and make them accessible to the infected ones at the grassroots. Some infected ones at the grassroots do not have access to the antiretroviral drugs, which are often hijacked by the infected rich and connected persons. The awareness campaign should be intensified at the grassroots so as to further mitigate the rate of the infection.
“Much as we continue to advocate for abstinence amongst the unmarried persons and fidelity amongst the married persons, parents should not shy aware from letting their children know that unprotected sex can expose them to Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), especially HIV. Sex education is important in schools and families.
“If you cannot abstain, please kindly use condom so as to protect yourself from HIV and other STDs. Girls should not be shy to buy condoms for their own safety, if they can’t abstain. If the guy doesn’t have condom, give him yours and if he refuses to use it please run for your dear life!
“Once again, I urge us all to reach out to those who are infected with HIV and always keep them in our prayers. We are not more holy nor more careful than them, most of them are victims of circumstances. May God strengthen them as we pray for the certification and potency of the newly discovered cure to HIV”.