New Vision (Kampala)

5 December 2012

Uganda: Abstinence Is Swagg!

I remember when rain was considered good luck, romantic or something to cherish and hope for-those things.

I wonder which of those still remains and feels true today. Whichever the case, I dearly hope you are coping well with the ¬ nancial troubles of holidays, struggling with patience through tra c jam of UG@50, tending to your zeyis' farm or perhaps forging a life in villa with the nagging sengas and jjajas.

One thing though, never to escape the mind, even in its sub-conscious, AIDS is real and it kills!

Transmission and Infection:

HIV is apparently more prevalent among people in the age bracket of 15-29. Teenagers, in general, are at risk of contracting HIV through sexual transmission, because a big number engage in sexual exploration, have multiple partners, and fail to consistently use condoms because it is apparently, too mainstream for their liking.

Many young people also become infected with other STDs that facilitate the transmission of HIV. STDs create wounds through which HIV penetrates easily.

HIV is not transmitted by casual contact. Transmission requires direct exchange of body fluids such as blood, semen or vaginal secretions, usually as a result of sexual activity or sharing of sharp stu like needles.

Oral sex is the most ill-conceived so-called safe method of sexual satisfaction among teens. Oral sex is not safe. If a person engages in acts of oral sex with an infected person, exchange of uids can occur in the mouth.

The virus then gets into the blood stream in case of tiny sores or bleeding gums.

In addition, some teens engage in very frequent unprotected sex for money, and thereby greatly increase their risk, both by having frequent unprotected sex and by having sex with partners in high-risk groups.

Signs and Symptoms:

Various opportunistic infections conspire to cause a wide range of symptoms. Examples are severe cough, diarrhoea, high fever with heavy night sweats, sore skin rashes and severe headaches, which may lead to extreme weight loss, blindness, hallucinations and dementia before imminent death occurs if not checked.

In Dr. Ian Clark's language, Pneumocystis cariniipneumonia, herpes simplex and cytomegalovirus are just some of the many signs and symptoms

How to stay safe:

Frankly, just what haven't you already learnt or heard about AIDS? Nonetheless, it's quite easy to stay safe; all you have to do is

ABSTAIN! At your age you should have no business with the B and C of ABC (Abstain, Be faithful or use a Condom).

We are a Godly nation. So, as teens, it's only safe to avoid sexual intercourse in all its tempting forms, because even condoms can be faulty.

If you have had intimate contact that involves exchange of body fluids, it is advisable to have regular blood tests to ¬ find out your status (at least once every six months).

HIV can catch you even during that very ¬ first time.

In case of a positive result, regular counselling is highly recommended to avert severe depression or even suicide. As there is no cure, anti-retroviral drugs, often in combination, are prescribed.

So, it's only right to abstain. Here is just one more way to stay safe this hols, SOTSN (Stay O The Sexual Network!).

Facts about HIV:

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is Human Immuno-deficiency Virus and AIDS, Acquired Immune De¬ ciency Syndrome'. AIDS is a condition that allows many other diseases to kill you. You fail to defend yourself because HIV attacks the immune system and leaves it in shambles, unable to resist any other infection which an otherwise healthy person would normally ¬ fight o quite easily.

Numbers don't lie:

The most common way through which HIV is transmitted is through sexual intercourse, or just simply misguided experimentation.

According to the Uganda AIDS Indicator Survey of 2011, out of the 5,000 girls interviewed 4,561 confessed to having more than one sexual partner, while 3,390 out of 5,000 boys confessed to the same.

The other interesting thing is that girls between 15 and 24, compared to boys in the same age bracket, confessed to having had sex for the first time at a much younger age, which I found weird. I mean, aren't girls supposed to be less adventurous and more reserved?

On the other hand, boys are relatively average on the number of partners scale, but mess the stats up when it comes to the part where it shows the number of men who have used condoms.

Many guys prefer not to use them. But be reminded! Safe sex is the only choice, if abstinence fails. And remember, Maths set wrappers, buveeras, paper bags, clothes, etc are NOT alternatives of condoms.

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