Sexually transmitted infections/ diseases (STIs/STDs) affect people from all walks of life. While there are other pressing issues in Nigeria, we believe that one's health needs to be intact in order to achieve anything else. The overall message of this campaign, and as is recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is: if you're sexually active, getting tested at least once a year should not be considered a luxury, but a necessity!
Through the depiction of the various characters and quotes, we can get a glimpse of harmful ways stigma surrounding STDs can impact the thoughts, emotions and behaviors of those at risk of contracting an STD. Stigmatization in this sense involves public shaming, name calling and generally disgrace or blame of an individual. Ignorance about the means through which a person contracts an STD include the belief that STDs are simply a deserved consequence of reckless and promiscuous behavior. However, reasons such as a lack of sexual health education, unsafe use of sharp instruments, (forced) prostitution, a cheating spouse, amongst others, are other means not often considered by the majority.
STDs and the surrounding stigma may not affect you today, but it could tomorrow or even someone you care about in the future! Through this campaign, we are imploring Nigerians to operate from a mindset of understanding as opposed to making snap judgements about others. We hope that Nigerians will be proactive about seeking to change the current STD narrative and not by relying on the government alone but seeking to make a change on an individual level, by creating an environment of support and empathy. When this gets translated to a communal level, the stigma and fear of seeking STD testing will diminish overtime. Nonetheless, it starts with you!