Dis­turb­ing mes­sages of the HIV-Aids & ART Registry

Sun.Star Davao - - OPINION -

READ­ING the Oc­to­ber 2017 HIV-Aids & ART Registry showed that this dis­ease that has a lot to do with our peo­ple’s re­pro­duc­tive health and their knowl­edge or ig­no­rance about it is spread­ing its scourge among our young.

As the re­port said, “In Oc­to­ber 2017, a to­tal of 43 ado­les­cents aged 10-19 years were re­ported to HARP. All were in­fected through sex­ual con­tact (6 male-fe­male sex, 30 male-male sex, 7 had sex with both males & fe­males). Fur­ther, there were three chil­dren aged 10 years and be­low re­ported to be HIV pos­i­tive and all were in­fected through mother-to-child trans­mis­sion.”

Na­tion­wide statis­tics from July to Oc­to­ber 2017 showed that HIV-Aids in­fec­tion for this group reached a to­tal of 181 (40 in Septem­ber, 98 in July-Au­gust). When com­pared with the July to Oc­to­ber 2016 that had a to­tal of 122, this is 48% more. In the same pe­riod in 2015, the to­tal was only 92 or a 32.6% growth by 2016. Clearly, the num­bers are grow­ing and in the dou­ble-digit. Of these num­bers, very few, from 1 to 4 were through mother-to-child in­fec­tion ev­ery year. All others were through sex­ual con­tact.

When num­bers are grow­ing by dou­ble dig­its and ad­versely af­fect our young, then it’s time to stuff the mouths of all those against main­stream­ing re­pro­duc­tive health ed­u­ca­tion among the young. We have been made com­pla­cent for so long by those who want to pre­serve the sta­tus quo in the un­founded be­lief that chil­dren have to be pro­tected from what to them is sin­ful.

These num­bers are say­ing, chil­dren are dab­bling in these sin­ful ways and are get­ting into trou­ble be­cause no one is talk­ing about it be­cause the adults that they look up to, their par­ents, guardians, and teach­ers would rather sweep the topic un­der the rug and be­lieve that chil­dren are not stim­u­lated by what they can see and ac­cess in their mo­bile phones and on the In­ter­net.

We’re not even talk­ing about the young pop­u­la­tion aged 15-24, which has the high­est per­cent­age of in­fec­tions.

These num­bers should ring loud bells of warn­ing. We have to take heed, we have to act now. Put an end to the il­lu­sion that chil­dren will not dab­ble in sex just be­cause we pre­fer to not talk about it in school and at home.

Put in place proper re­pro­duc­tive health ed­u­ca­tion and al­low the chil­dren to open up their thoughts about this, let them see sym­pa­thetic adults whom they can seek out and talk to, let them un­der­stand that it’s about their fu­ture and not just about for­bid­den thrills.

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