It goes without saying that Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year. It is the one day in the year that people feel entitled to grand gestures of love and a renewal of affection to one’s partner.
Romantic love and sex are very linked. No matter how moralist the Nigerian society is, the truth of the matter is that people are having sex. People are having more sex than the society is willing to admit and than it is probably comfortable with.
More likely than not, the people having the most sex in Nigeria, are the youth. Parents and guardians will prefer to preted that their children and wards are not having sex, that they do not even know the meaning of the word, but the truth is that more than you would want to know, young people are having sex.
However, with Valentine’s, and everyone feeling the need to be romantic, there is bound to be more sex. Couples that have been dating for a while, may want to consummate their relationship on Valentine’s Day and take the next step towards sex, busy couples that may not have had time for sex in a while might use the opportunity of Valentine to get a little bit of action, and well, Valentine’s is just another justification to have more sex.
Nigeria is the most populous African country with a population of over 200 million people according to the United Nations. With a 60% youth population, – 18 being the average age of a Nigerian, the majority of people having sex are young and most likely unmarried and may not necessarily be ready to have children. And here comes the condoms.
According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), male condoms if used correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV and reducing the risk of other STIs.
In the 2014–2015 National HIV/AIDS Prevention Plan, the Federal Government of Nigeria aimed to reduce the national Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) incidence rate through various measures including condom programming and the promotion of the dual protective benefits of condoms, i.e., prevention of inadvertent pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV.
While parents and guardians may not be comfortable with the notion that young people are having sex, it is an unavoidble fact. And these youngsters may not be as reckless as suspected. With the fear of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), young people are making the smarter decision to protect themselves, from unwanted pregnancies and infections.
Between 2005 and 2010, 49 percent of males and 36 percent of females ages 15 to 24 in Nigeria used a condom the last time they had sex with a nonmarital, noncohabiting partner, according to UNICEF reports.
The new Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 2016–2021 strategy set a global target to increase the availability of condoms to 20 billion/year by 2020 in low- and middle-income countries and to achieve 90% condom use during the most recent sexual activity with a nonregular partner.
The best way to protect the youth is to ensure that they practice safe sex, are aware of the consequences of their actions and have a safe space to have conversations and ask questions.
While love and sex are independent of each other, it is unrealistic to think that they do not correlate. It’s Valentine’s, love is in the air, so is sex, and so are condoms and it isn’t just condom sales that increase during Valentine’s season, morning after pills and other forms of contraceptives also experience a hike in sales.
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Author: Darafunmi Olanrewaju