HIV/AIDS: Hoteliers, commercial sex workers provide condoms to customers

Hoteliers and commercial sex workers in Yola say they have been providing condoms to customers
on demand, following increased knowledge on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS.

An investigation by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) found that community awareness and public enlightenments
conducted by government, donor agencies and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) has yielded positive impact on
the people.

The investigation was part of activities to mark the 2020 World AIDS Day, celebrated annually on Dec. 1
since 1988 to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic, caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourn those who died of the condition.

The theme for the 2020 observance is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact” to focus more attention to the HIV scourge, increased awareness and knowledge, as well as speak out against stigma.

A NAN correspondent who visited popular sex work joints — Sokoto Street, Dandu, Luggere, Madam Strait and Leggel areas,

reports that a cross section of the sex workers are committed to serve customers with the protective tool — the condom.

A condom is a thin pouch that keeps sperm from getting into the vagina. There are male condoms and female condoms. A male
condom is worn on the penis, usually made of latex, a type of rubber, but some are made of materials that are safe for people with latex allergies.

A commercial sex worker at Sokoto Street in Yola, who simply identified herself as Blessing, told NAN that she keeps condoms for sell to customers at N200, and charges N500 for a round of sex.

She, however, said that some customers came along with their condoms and pay for the sex only.

She explained that many sex workers learnt from radio and television announcements, as well as group interactive sessions, that they must adhere to safety measures to protect themselves.

Some of Blessing’s colleagues, Maryam Haruna, Josephine Bulus and Maimuna Garus, also said they were aware of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and had embraced the use of condom for sex as major protection.

They explained that they buy the condoms from commercial outlets, noting that they don’t get free condoms like before.
Hoteliers in Yola also said they provide condoms to their guests on demand.

The Food and Beverage Manager of Duragi Hotel, Mr Richard Fwa, said the management sourced for condoms at commercial outlets as many customers demanded for it.

Fwa said people were aware of the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS and always keen to use protective measures, making the hotel to buy condoms and supply those who asked for it.

Mr Levinus Sanni and Babangida Yusuf, the managers of Hometel and Osne hotels, said they no longer receive free condoms for distribution to customers, but source the commodity and preserve for customers on demand on daily bases.

NAN reports that the situation is same in Madugu, Dara, Alheri Royal, Queens, Varsity Hotels in Yola and Jimeta.

The managers expressed readiness to accept free condoms from government or donor agencies for distribution to customers.

However, Alhaji Ibrahim Amadi, the Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Jambutu Garage, said organisations that used to visit the garage for awareness campaign on HIV/AIDS had not visited in a long while.

Amadi added that some groups usually approached them for free HIV/AIDS testing and awareness campaign, but for more than one year now, none of such groups came for the exercise.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary, Adamawa State Action Committee on AIDS (ADSACA), Dr Chibado Abubakar, said distribution of free condoms stopped when the World Bank intervention stopped in 2017.

Abubakar said agencies in the past conducted routine sensitisation and distributed free condoms to people in schools, parks, hotels, commercial sex workers and communities.

He, however, commended the state government for providing counterpart fund to access international interventions and execute programmes toward checking the spread of HIV/AIDS in the state. (NAN)