'Condom offers 95% protection against HIV if...'

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- Condom, if used properly and consistently, offers 95% protection against HIV, the head of Nigeria's National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Prof.
Babatunde Osotimehin, said Wednesday.
Osotimehin was answering questions from Nigerian Senators, who were screening him in the capital city of Abuja for appointment as Minister, following his nomination by President Umaru Yar'Adua.
''It is not a question of whether it is used only at night or in the mornings.
It has to be used properly and consistently,'' he said when asked to comment on reports in certain circles questioning the effectiveness of condom as a protective measure against contacting HIV.
Osotimehin said Nigeria currently treats, with antiretroviral drugs, 250,000 of its 3 million people who are infected with the virus that causes AIDS.
He said by NACA estimates, some 500,000 of those infected with HIV have developed AIDS.
''The virus takes three to 10 years to manifest as AIDS.
Unless the patient starts showing the symptons of AIDS, there is no need to treat them (with ARVs),'' he said, in response to a question on why only one sixth of those infected with HIV are being treated.
On why NACA has put so much emphasis on sex as the main source of infection in its awareness campaign, instead of such sources as the use of unsterilised blades and other sharp instruments, Prof.
Osotimehin said it was because sex is ''the most important route'' of contracting the virus in sub-Saharan Africa, responsible for about 80% of infections.

26 november 2008 13:30:00

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