The Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Gombe State, Mohammed Mu’azu, has issued a cautionary warning to men, urging them to exercise vigilance in engaging in illicit sexual relationships. He emphasized the importance of verifying the HIV status of potential partners before entering into any sexual relationship.
During a briefing on the Command’s 2023 activities, Mr Mu’azu highlighted a recent incident where an 85-year-old man was arrested for enticing numerous young girls into sexual activities. Subsequent medical examinations confirmed that both the elderly man and his four wives were HIV positive.
Expressing concern over the high prevalence rate of HIV in Gombe State, Mr Mu’azu stressed the need for men to be cautious and verify the HIV status of their partners, especially considering the prevalence of the virus in the state.
The Commandant also revealed the struggles with certain non-governmental organizations (NGOs) advocating for same-sex relationships and marriage, an issue prevailing in the state. Notably, 76 people were arrested last year for allegedly holding a “gay party” in Gombe State.
This emphasis on caution in sexual relationships aligns with broader efforts by Nigerian authorities to prevent the spread of HIV. According to the 2019 Nigerian HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS), approximately 1.9 million Nigerians are affected by the disease.
In 2022, the Director-General of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Gambo Aliyu, reported a reduction in new HIV infections within the country. New cases dropped from 103,404 in 2019 to 92,323 in 2021.
In 2023, the Nigerian government introduced two crucial documents to guide efforts in eliminating HIV/AIDS by 2030. Developed by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) in collaboration with local and international partners, these documents include the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan (2023-2027) and the Sustainability Pathway for National HIV Response (2023-2030).
George Akume, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), emphasized that these documents underscore a significant commitment to achieving the global goal of epidemic control and ending HIV/AIDS by 2030, with states taking on leadership roles.