He said the volunteers picked up the condoms from the health care centres, took them to the communities where they were given to the patent medicine vendors that already had dispensers available.

Araoyinbo said the dispensers, were for control and were placed conspicuously in patent medicine stores so that the condoms were made available free of charge to communities, stressing that “the major challenge now is how the patent medicine dealers would be able to allow access because they don’t work 24 hours, but we hope to check this through the hot spots,’’.

The Project Coordinator stated that he foresaw a future where patent medicine dealers would imbibe the culture of providing free condoms to their communities, “we told them that this would make them popular as there was nowhere in the world where people don’t love business men who go beyond business to provide free humanitarian services,’’.

He, however, said that though the project was aimed at sensitising people on condom usage, the best form of prevention still remains abstinence and also noted that statistics had shown that the sexual debut of Nigerian youth had dropped to about 17 years for girls and 21 for the boys, adding that efforts must be made to protect them.

“Our youths initiate sex early these days most of which are done without protection increasing the rate of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in our society. Because most new HIV cases are found among the youths, the need to preach the use of condoms could not be over emphasised,’’ he said.

The project was carried out in partnership with the Nigeria Red Cross, Cross River Primary Health Care Agency, State Ministry of Health as well as patent medicine dealers in Benue and Cross River, while other partners included the Benue and Cross River governments.

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