A Holistic Approach to Ending Adolescent AIDs

HIV-AIDs Ribbon According to the promoters of the All In #EndAdolescentAIDS campaign, the number one killer of adolescents in Africa is AIDs. Is this conclusion correct and does it warrant ‘comprehensive sexuality education’ for and wanton distribution of condoms to adolescents? Perhaps what we should seek to find out is the range of factors (e.g. the absence of care givers) that might be contributing to the increase in adolescent AIDS/HIV. Only then can we find the holistic interventions for ending HIV/AIDS amongst adolescents. As reported in Kenya, 29% of the 100,000 AIDS infections occurred among the youth aged 24 years and below[1]. Thank God the number is not that bad. Most of the infections of the 2.1 million adolescents living with HIV/AIDs as of 2013 were due to mother to child transmission[2]. Certainly, the provision of antiretroviral drugs to adolescents living with HIV/AIDs can reduce the number of deaths among adolescents.

Prevention of mother to child transmission has served well to prevent new HIV/IAIDs infections. However, we should be concerned with the methods of prevention being advocated for e.g. condom distribution, the contents of sexual health and reproductive education as well calls for effecting policy change to make this possible[3]. The current type of response comes from the false conclusion and assumption that all adolescents are very promiscuous, irresponsible and will have sex with or without protection so the better option is to ensure they do not get infected as they engage in promiscuous behaviour. That is not true and most certainly this approach is not in the holistic interest of adolescents.

We as a nation have failed our youth and adolescents. As the social fabric has been torn we are now operating in crisis mode. It’s time to take back into our hand the moral formation of our youth. In the past our ancestors prepared our youth for adult life during initiation. A proper sex education and moral instruction was taught and the community played its part in the formation of its youth. Today we retain the physical aspects of initiation such as circumcision but leave out the most important aspect which is moral instruction. When we leave the care of our children to house helps and then damp our children to school without any effort on our part to instill a sense of morality in them then we are to blame. The church needs to find innovative ways to instruct the youth in matters of human sexuality and to make know church teaching to the youth. With a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and experience, the church is well equipped for the care of souls. But the catechist, the priest, the pastor, the teacher and the government can only do so much. The government might only care about physical death but the family should also ensure that a moral and spiritual death does not occur in the process. Unless parents and families reclaim their roles in the formation of their children morality will be on a downward spiral. When we put our children before all else then we might not reach a situation where there is a crisis that has to be dealt with.

Parents should strive to accompany their children in their formative years and continue to be actively involved in their moral formation. In the digital and economic organisation of our time this is not easy but it is a goal worth striving for. It’s about time we implement work policies that allow for work-life balance and create an environment where moral instruction and monitoring of our children’s development is possible and easy.

Links

[1] Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqD2NnZFXNs [2]http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/presscentre/pressreleaseandstatementarchive/2015/february/20150217_PR_all-in [3] See the All In #EndAdolescentsAIDS brochure. https://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/20150217_ALL_IN_brochure.pdf

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