The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Nation Commemorates World Aids Day

column

Today marks the World Aids Day and a lot of activities are lined up in commemoration of the day. Cool Lifestyle will be attending the celebrations at the Rainbow Towers in Harare.

It is sad to note that many teens are dying young because of the deadly disease and as the nation commemorates the day, there are interesting facts and statistics on the pandemic.

For many of us, it may seem like common knowledge, but to the teens across the country, this isn't always the case.

Aids is an acronym, which means Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is an illness caused by Human Immune Virus, which is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids from someone infected with the virus.

It can be passed on to the next person in a number of ways. In Zimbabwe with its clean blood for transfusions and the almost total lack of drug addicts using injectable drugs, sexual transmission accounts for almost all cases.

While infection rates among youths are starting to fall, they are still appallingly high and it is quite tragic and saddening that so many have not just lost their morals but cannot even take basic precautions when they indulge in sexual activities.

Sexually transmitted infections are far too common among youths and that shows that hundreds of thousands are at risk of HIV.

Being infected with another STI makes HIV infection far more likely. So is our nation safe if we will be left with the future generation suffering from deadly diseases and who do not uphold their moral values?

While a lot has been done to educate the public on these infectious diseases, the prevention programmes used to instruct and inform the youths are still greatly needed.

Children are taught of HIV and Aids from primary school. All school-going children have heard of the message and are aware of how the disease is spread and how one is affected.

They have learning material on the subject in print, on catchy pamphlets and even on videos. They also have drama groups visiting schools and their schools too have drama groups enacting the HIV story.

With them being brought up in such an environment where they are enlightened on the dangers of risky behaviour, one is bound to believe that they are better equipped for the present scenario in life than the teens of yester-year.

However, all these efforts appear to be futile.

Taking a closer look at the number of school drop outs as a result of early pregnancies, there is no doubt that they are becoming more sexually active in their early stages, than was the case two decades ago.

Faced with such a scenario, people are then left wondering if the messages that are available on the subject are not adequate.

Is it right to sacrifice our entire future because of a few moments of excitement?

As I was writing this article, I kept asking myself several questions on where exactly the problem is.

Who is to blame for all these incidences on moral decadence that is playing havoc among our youths?

Can we say that parents are now failing to educate their kids on societal norms, beliefs, and cultural and traditional values as Zimbabweans?

Or can we blame the media and the Internet that has led to the youths of today steering away from what they used to believe in while growing up?

From all these questions I failed to get an answer but more questions emerged again within my mind.

With all these dramatic happenings among our teens can we stand tall and firmly and proudly say that we are the future leaders of Zimbabwe and that we are the chosen generation?

While it is important to educate our teens on the risk factors and behaviours attributed to infection, they should also understand that nothing is 100 percent effective except

ABSTINENCE, which is truly the best solution and prevention strategy.

I would like to ask my fellow youths: Can we really just sit back, relax and watch our beautiful nation go down the drain?

Let's get discussing guys. An informed teen is a safe teen.

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