Did you know that there are 268,586 young people living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya with the bracket being 15-24 years old? Technically in plain language this would arguably mean,our high school and campuses have become dens of unprotected sex and while their biggest worry is how not to get pregnant while they are at it, the unseen monster that is HIV/AIDS is creeping in and sweeping a whole generation.
According to University students, the biggest reason why they would choose to use protection when having sex would be out of fear of falling pregnant (since this would mean trouble with their parents and shame in the society) and not contracting HIV/AIDS. This mentality is crippling and it arouses curiosity on how many teens could be infected and don’t even know it? Are we failing as parents in having our children fear the manageable while they completely ignore the fatal?
Sex education has been integrated in our Education systems but its’ success largely depends on our attitude and willingness to be candid with ourselves as a society. According to a report by NACC on the response progress,there were 3,853 HIV related deaths among people between the age of 15-24 in 2015-2016. The report in part read.
“The young people significantly contribute
to high HIV burden in the country. They
constitute the largest proportion of people
living with HIV. Notably, they have
contributed 51% of adult HIV new infections
showing rapid rise from 29% in 2013.
A number of factors have advanced this alarming
rate of infection such as incorrect perception
of their risks on HIV; limited knowledge on
sexual behaviour that expose them to HIV
such as failure to use condoms during the first
sexual intercourse; failure to resist forced sex
from partner; having sexual intercourse under
influence of alcohol or drugs among others.”
The verdict is out and as a society our work cut out. Let us roll out this conversation among our youth. Let us embark in curbing the stigma while engraving the correct narratives and morals. A conversation as serious as this however starts at knowing one’s status. #Jijuejipange
AUTHOR: NJOKI GACHANJA