HIV preven­tion as low as 23% among young peo­ple and ado­les­cent

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

The 27th World pop­u­la­tion day with the themed “In­vest­ing in teenage girls” was ob­served to as­sured at­ten­tion to­wards the poor plight of women and girls through­out globe last Mon­day.

Her Majesty the Queen Mother San­gay Cho­den Wangchuck, Pres­i­dent of RE­NEW and UNFPA’s Good­will Am­bas­sador, graced the oc­ca­sion as the guest of hon­our at Royal Ban­quet Hall.

The world pop­u­la­tion day was jointly or­ga­nized by RE­NEW (Re­spect, Ed­u­cate, Nur­ture, Em­power Women) in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Thim­phu Thromde Ed­u­ca­tion of­fice with fi­nan­cial sup­port from UNFPA IPPF SARO and EC.

The cel­e­bra­tion con­cerns to­wards the em­pow­er­ment of ado­les­cent girls across the world and in Bhutan to ac­knowl­edge that women and girls are es­sen­tial part­ners in sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment of na­tions. It is also to raise aware­ness about pop­u­la­tion growth and re­lated is­sues.

With global pop­u­la­tion at seven bil­lion, the peo­ple are pre­sented with an op­por­tu­nity and loom­ing chal­lenge as well. Ac­cord­ing to the RE­NEW, peo­ple are liv­ing more pros­per­ous now than ever but strife chal­lenges are ahead. Be­sides several global is­sues gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion and abuse of women and girls is a press­ing is­sue yet to be re­solved.

The UNFPA’s As­sis­tant Res­i­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Yeshey Dorji, said, “There are ev­i­dence of ado­les­cent fer­til­ity, ris­ing sex­ual abuse and un­wanted preg­nan­cies, emerg­ing sui­cides among the young peo­ple and par­tic­u­larly among ado­les­cent girls.” He fur­ther added, “HIV is be­com­ing younger and com­pre­hen­sive knowl­edge on HIV preven­tion is as low as 23% among young peo­ple and ado­les­cent.”

Yeshey Dorji, said that this could rep­re­sent a need for the right kinds of pub­lic po­lices to en­sure that ev­ery­one has free­dom and ac­cess to the in­for­ma­tion and ser­vices they need to make good choices.

Like in many coun­tries, a Bhutanese girl who reaches pu­berty is deemed by her fam­ily and com­mu­nity as ready for mar­riage, preg­nancy and child­birth. Early mar­riage leads to early preg­nancy and ef­fec­tively closes the door to ed­u­ca­tion and other op­por­tu­ni­ties for a bet­ter life. He said, “when a girl be­comes preg­nant, her present and fu­ture changes rad­i­cally, and rarely for the bet­ter.” He fur­ther added, “Her ed­u­ca­tion may end, her job prospects evap­o­rate, and her vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties to poverty, ex­clu­sion and de­pen­dency mul­ti­ply.”

The is­sues such as early mar­riages, teenagers’ preg­nan­cies, deaths aris­ing due to early mother­hood and de­pri­va­tions of school and well­be­ing prospects con­tinue to re­strict girls.

The As­sis­tant Rep­re­sen­ta­tive said that mil­lions of girls are forced into un­wanted sex or mar- riage, putting them at risk of un­wanted preg­nan­cies, un­safe abor­tions, sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted in­fec­tions, in­clud­ing HIV, and dan­ger­ous child­birth. It is re­ported half of all sex­ual as­saults world­wide are com­mit­ted against girls aged 15 and be­low.

Ac­cord­ing to RE­NEW, the new 2030 Agenda for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment is an op­por­tu­nity for teenage girls to claim their rights and re­al­ize their as­pi­ra­tions and trans­form the world. The suc­cess of the new agenda de­pends on how well teenage girls are sup­ported.

The pro­gramme con­sisted of var­i­ous cul­ture pro­grams fol­lowed by rep­re­sen­ta­tion of youth per­spec­tive. Fol­low­ing the pro­gram, a youth pro­gramme led by RE­NEW youth vol­un­teers DAISAN (Druk Ado­les­cents’ Ini­tia­tive for Sex­ual Aware­ness Net­work) show­cased a spe­cial drama se­ries ti­tled “I”.

RE­NEW also launched Yeshey Dawa a draw­ing book for chil­dren. Yeshey Dawa is an an­i­mated char­ac­ter con­ceived to raise aware­ness on women and child rights in the coun­try.

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