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Teens not heeding advice on HIV/AIDS

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Are teenagers heeding the call for safer sex practices amidst the dangers HIV/AIDS poses?{{more}}

As figures released last week showed that more teenagers got pregnant in 2007 than in 2006, AIDS Secretariat spokesperson Teresa Daniel said she was very disappointed.

“Those numbers have serious consequences for our work,” Daniel told SEARCHLIGHT earlier this week.

At the 12th edition of the prenatal mortality/ morbidity conference, it was revealed that 401 teens got pregnant in 2007, 31 more than the 370 in 2006.

“We thought that this was a thing of the past,” Daniel said, adding that while the AIDS Secretariat and the other stakeholders are working hard at educating the young people about their sex practices, more has to be done.

“They are not listening, and the answers lie in the schools,” Daniel said.

She said that the information has to be more aggressively related in the school system to ensure that the dangers associated with sexual choices are made as plain as possible to the nation’s youths.

“I don’t think we are being open enough,” Daniel said.

Daniel said that she was so shaken by the information that she concluded that it “demanded that we go back to the drawing board.”

Daniel said that if the young persons, who are the future productive sector of the nation, are being so careless in their sexual practices, this does not augur well for the future of the nation.

Meanwhile, even though she, too, is disappointed by what the numbers show, Coordinator of the National Family Planning Unit Naomi Prince says that all isn’t lost.

She noted that while the overall numbers showed an increase in teenage pregnancy, they also showed a small decrease among younger teenagers, which is encouraging.

Compared to 86 in 2005 and 82 in 2006, 73 teenagers 16 and under got pregnant in 2007.

While she admitted that this is just a small decrease, Prince said the decrease is welcomed.

Prince also used the opportunity to congratulate the “the vast majority” of teenagers who are not having sex.

She said that while it is important to focus on those who are making bad judgments, those who are making wise choices must be applauded.

She, however, reiterated Daniel’s concern about the fact that too many young people are still having unprotected sex.

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