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A renowned consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu, Dr. Peter Nkwo, has accused some wealthy men in Nigeria of escalating the spread of HIV/AIDS among young girls, particularly those wallowing in abject poverty.
Addressing members of Achina community resident in Enugu State inside the main hall of the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus (UNEC), Dr. Nkwo, said most of the well placed men in society abandon their wives, only to use their position and strong financial muscles to entice young girls and have unprotected sex with them and thereby spreading the HIV/AIDS, even as he insisted that all women are the same.
He noted that recent scientific studies have revealed that women have higher risks of contracting HIV/AIDS from men who have it, adding that men who have sex with ladies living with the virus have less risks of contracting HIV/AIDS.
Emotionally disturbed by the resultant effect of the ugly trend in the country, the medical expert called on the Federal Government to introduce social security of at least N5,000.00 monthly for all jobless young persons in the country as a means of checking the spread of HIV/AIDS.
According to him, “if girls from poor homes can have little money to eat everyday, the tendency of being lured by old men for sex will be reduced to a large extent since hunger and poverty are among two greatest factors responsible for the high level of prostitution among them”.
He, therefore, advised parents to take proper care of their children and wards especially in the area of the use of needles, blood transfusion, adding that they should be careful in visiting barbing saloon and use of sharp objects.
He also advised them never to visit public saloon without their bleach or spirit as HIV/AIDS virus does not survive when the chemicals are applied within 60oC.
Also speaking, Dr. Chika Ndiokwelu of UNTH Enugu, disclosed that mother-to-child transmission of HIV accounts for more than 90 per cent of HIV infection in children below 15 years while between 15 per cent to 45 per cent of babies born to HIV positive mothers acquire the infection either during pregnancy, labour and delivery or through breastfeeding.
“The burden of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS, MTCT, is higher in sub-Sahara Africa because of high levels of heterosexual transmission, high female, male ratio, high fertility rate and high levels of breastfeeding,” the HIV/AIDS expert emphasized.
According to her, in Nigeria, it is estimated that 552,000 infants born to HIV infected women are exposed to the risk of mother to child transmission, MTCT assuming no multiple pregnancy, stressing that the number of HIV positive infants has been put to between 37,800 to 1113,000 per annum and intervention was imperative urgency to reduce the prevalence rate of MTCT.
Earlier, the President-General of the Achina community resident in Enugu State, Dr. Etisiobi Ndiokwelu, had explained that the health programme was introduced as part of the 2006 cultural day activities to drum the message of the HIV/AIDS pandemic to the door steps of all, especially at this period of yuletide.
Dr. Ndiokwelu, reminded Nigerians that Christmas was not a time for sexual extravaganza and merry making but a period for sober reflection and stocktaking, and urged parents to always monitor the activities and movements of their children and wards during the festivals to avoid contracting of HIV/AIDS.