The article’s title is HIV hitting young at rate of one every 14 seconds. The article has some appalling implications.
I know that the 10-18 year-old demographic is the most likely to acquire AIDS now. A thought for everyone — now would be a very good time to revive abstinence as a practice for those not in committed relationships.
From my own personal experience, I never spent a single night right up to the night I got married, when I was twenty-one, worrying about whether or not I might be pregnant. Never had to worry about what I’d tell my mother. Never had to sweat out a late period. (Had them, just never had to worry about what they might mean.) And I never had to worry about catching anything. I know abstinence isn’t a popular stance, but for pure peace of mind, it’s unbeatable. You’re basically bullet-proof.
Just a thought.
In the minority here, and very possibly rightly, but I’ll offer personal experience anyway.
I lost my virginity when I was eighteen, and didn’t count it as much of a loss – partly because I was quite deeply in love at the time, partly because I had fun, and partly because, well… I’d seen way too many relationships built on that weird power dynamic of denying the guy sex, and I abhor power trips. And no matter how good the intentions of either were going into the relationship, that was somehow what it ended up being by the end… a power trip. "Prove you love me. Do
I’ve sidestepped a lot of power trips in my life, and I saw this as one of them. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I was lucky. I don’t know.
However… it’s all about risk assessment, isn’t it? Yes, if I never had sex with anyone, I’d be much safer from risk of AIDS. And if I never left home, I’d be much less likely to get raped or mugged or killed in a plane crash or starve to death alone in the wilderness or be killed by mad Welsh cows.
I just turned seventeen a few weeks ago and I am still a virgin. I’ve made a promise to myself that I won’t have sex until I am in a very serious, commited relationship, because the way I see it, we humans have enough to deal with, and having to worry about pregnancy and/or STDs seems really silly when you can just be abstinent. But I’ve never had a boyfriend (unless we’re counting Adam from preschool who shared his cookies with me), so I’ve never felt the same pressure other girls my age have. But the way I’ve always seen it is, if he won’t wait for you, don’t give him the time of day.
Abstinence outside of committed relationships is a great idea for individuals. AIDS prevention campaigns that begin and end with abstinence are lousy public policy.
I’m not in a position to dictate public policy. I am in a position to offer my own experiences one on one to the people who read this weblog. Over time, my own experience may prove valuable to one person, and if it can save one person from dying of the disease that destroyed my uncle’s life, I will not have wasted my time.
Agreed – I also had nothing to worry about on those counts. I remember a girl I once worked with who split with a guy after finding out about his multiple and nearly simultaneous relationships. She said she’d kill him if he’d given her AIDS. I thought at first that she was being melodramatic, but she was extremely concerned, and (when my naive mind thought about it!) she had every right to be. Wonder whatever happened to her?
My daughter is 21 and married. She found that keeping a good attitude about NOT having sex in high school helped kids not make fun of her. She kept the comments pretty casual, and kept respect coming her way. My son, at 19, can’t figure out why his girlfriend’s dad is so worried. He says, "I promised I wouldn’t, and I won’t". It IS possible in this day and age, but it is WAY harder for our kids than it was for us.
I saw the article this morning and I have to say I really needed that first cup of coffee as I read it. My son is thirteen and, while I know I’ve done everything I can to teach him about the dangers of std’s, etc. and the fact that abstinence is the only defense, the worry is still there.
Like you, I didn’t have to worry about what might happen. It was a choice I made and that, on the whole, was respected. Now, it seems the peer pressure, attitudes, and acceptance have changed so much. Needless to say, I clipped the article and have it out for the kid to read when he gets home from school.
Like you said, it is scary.
Abstinence outside of committed relationships is a great idea for individuals. AIDS prevention campaigns that begin and end with abstinence are lousy public policy. The people most likely to spread AIDS (or other STDs) are, by definition, the least likely to embrace abstinence as a lifestyle.
A good thought. I think of how I was when I was a "young adult" (this translates into over 18, but before 25) and I ~Shudder~ at what could have happen to me.
Trying to teach my kids now, that abstinence is best (and if not, USE Protection <--this is for the 14yo, he may not be thinking about "it" now, but he will soon, I'm sure)
While I agree with you in principle (I didn’t wait til I was married, but I did wait until I was in a serious relationship with a man I thought I was going to marry), I think that abstinence is an option only in the U.S. and other developed countries where women and girls have more control (legally and socially) over their bodies than they do elsewhere.
From what I’ve read on the subject, in some (many?) developing nations, young girls sleep with older men to get money or jobs that they need to survive. And, of course, the ingrained cultural attitudes in the older men don’t help, either–in some situations, they will rape when the girl isn’t willing. (Or because they think sleepign with a virgin will cure them.) Add to that a series of governmental policies and attitudes that are not conducive to treatment and prevention, and it’s no wonder that HIV/AIDS is spreading so rapidly.
The U.S. and U.N. have programs that teach safe sex and abstinence, but these cultural attitudes change slowly. I’m afraid the situation will only get worse before it gets better.