By Bianca Iboma-Emefu

 

In order to promote safe love practice and foster healthier relationship in various communities across the country,

The Nigerian Business Coalition Against Aids (NiBUCAA), in collaboration with the Anti-AIDS Club has offered free HIV screening and testing for 414 students of the University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos, on Valentine’s Day.

NiBUCC Senior Programme and Evaluation Officer,  Abuja, Opeyemi Yekini, said: “A total number of 414 beneficiaries accessed the free HIV screening at UNILAG,

3,000 students were sensitized on basic facts about HIV and other /STIs, prevention strategies and care.

“Also, in Abuja, about 17,000 residents of the Kobi community, Guzape Extension, Abuja were adequately sensitized and a total of 587 beneficiaries from the community, were able to access the free HIV testing services but four persons tested positive and were appropriately referred to another facility for treatment and support.

“Theocracy campaign on free HIV screening/ testing for students at the University of Lagos and some Abuja residents aims at practicing safe sex.

“The group took advantage of the Valentine’s season to create more awareness.

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“Because during the season, romance and intimacy are heightened .it became crucial to emphasize the importance of taking care of one’s health while celebrating love.

“The group initiated ‘Love is Safe’ a movement geared towards fostering healthier relationships and  advocating safe love practices, in different communities, by encouraging abstinence, be faithful or make use of condoms and encourage regular HIV/AIDS testing and counseling.

“This edition was carried out in two vibrant locations: Lagos, at UNILAG, on February 14, 2024 and Abuja, Kobi community, on Sunday, February 18, 2024 respectively advocating safe love practices, through the use of condoms and encouraging regular HIV/AIDS testing and counseling.

“We also noticed some concerns associated with HIV stigma, considering the conversations encountered during the exercise sensitization and community mobilization. More work needs to be done, and NiBUCAA is at the forefront of making this a reality.

“Other side attraction, was the ‘Love is Safe’ campaign. The campaign we organised was an Instagram challenge, were couples were invited to share beautiful photos of themselves with their partner, accompanied with captions expressing their commitment to safe love practices.

“Amazingly, Omomii82 emerged as winner of the challenge, and will be treated to an all-expense-paid dinner with her partner on a weekend, courtesy of the NiBUCAA ‘Love is Safe” campaign.

“Moreso, NiBUCAA, led 30 businesses in Nigeria with a commitment to fight the HIV and AIDS pandemic at all levels of intervention within the health system, partnering with the private sector workforce.

“Some of these businesses are the Access Corporation, the Dangote Group (represented by The Aliko Dangote Foundation), Julius Berger Nigeria Limited, DMG Events, Shell Companies in Nigeria amongst others.”