Voice of Youth 3

The Growing A.I.D.S epidemic in relation to the Teens in Jamaica.

Natalie McKenzie

A.I.D.S The very sound of the word brings a chill. It is deadly true that its game is indeed to kill. But many will ask, what is A.I.D.S.? According to the World Book Encyclopedia Volume 1, A.I.D.S. is ‘the final, life threatening stage of infection with human immunodeficiency virus (H.I.V.)’. Aids in relation to teens in Jamaica is a growing concern for all sects of the society. How it emerged in the Caribbean and its survival and growth into a killer disease of epidemic proportions is quite interesting and dreaded.

AIDS has been detected in every nation on the face of this earth. In its initial stages AIDS was synonymous with homosexuals and bi-sexuals. However, as peoples sexual orientations changed and in order to blend into society one would assume to the world a heterogeneous life-style masking possibly a homosexual perversion. How AIDS emerged in the Caribbean, but more specifically in Jamaica is left to anyone’s imagination, on the other hand though, this disease is not indigenous to our state. Therefore it had to come from some where and someone foreigners. Tourism is the main medium through which foreigners enter Jamaica. Through this trade, tourists socialise with the populace and from this can arrive both positive and negative results. Positive in that the country earns much needed foreign exchange and there is also a cultural exchange or “culture-clash”. It is of this mutual give and take that the negatives arise. Most tourists come to Jamaica from Europe and America with the intention of just having a “rye” time. No doubt these people don’t just come here for the scenic white sand beaches, glorious sunshine, mouth watering array of food and fruits and oh! Let me not forget our world acclaimed ‘reggae music’. The reality is, many come for the sex. The scenario then, is that, many of these tourists consciously or unconsciously infect there lovers while having unprotected sexual relations and starts the HIV-AIDS breeding cycle.

HIV-AIDS is contracted in various ways, through unprotected irresponsible sex with multiple partners, and through blood transfusions from an infected person. AIDS is a social health hazard that is now having a ripple effect on many if not all social institutions such as the government, schools and to a larger extent the economy. AIDS is for the twenty-first century what the plague was for the Egyptians.

This disease has spread rapidly to the teen population, owing its rejuvenating killing sprees to vulnerable, misguided teens, immoral older men-’sugar-daddies’, incestuous relations and teens indulging in pre-marital sex, ignorant of the risks and consequences of their actions. Another dear concern is that of children born with HIV dying of AIDS by the time they reach adolescence. Evidence from the Jamaica AIDS REPORT 2002 states emphatically that in 1999 AIDS was the second highest killer of children 1-4 years old. With the growing number of infected newborns since then AIDS will surely take first place now in 2002.

Teenagers are possibly thee most at risk of contracting AIDS or being emotionally traumatized by it. The NATIONAL HIV/STD PREVENTION and CONTROL PROGRAMME FACTS and FIGURES JAMAICA AIDS REPORT 2002 ARGUES THAT ‘ADOLESCENT FEMALES IN THE AGE GROUP 10-14 YEARS AND 15-19 years had twice and three times higher risk of HIV infection respectively than boys the same age’. This material went further to state that social factors perpetuate this. A young girl more than a boy may need financial support for school, in a case where she’s from a matri-focal single parent home, her mother is either unemployed or earns below minimum wage. The teenager in order not to be branded or assumed ‘poor’ status among her peers starts a relationship with an older man. He treats her right, that is, financing her education, lunch, clothes and other costs, while exploiting her sexually for his pleasure. Many teenage girls are just looking for a ‘father-figure’ or a ‘big-brother’ figure to protect them and to look up to, but instead, they might end up with a malicious, manipulating maniac, ready and willing prey on their innocence and emotional needs or weaknesses. In Jamaica the writer can point out the ‘taxi-men syndrome’ and the ‘sugar-daddies’ phenomena. These men pillage on young girls who are often neglected or unsupervised. They are the instigators and facilitators of a growing illicit sex trade with minor girls. These men don’t just loot virginities, they plunder complete persons. They don’t stick to one girl and even worse, many don’t practice the use of condoms and as such the risk of mutually contracting AIDS and other STD’s increases dramatically. Teens may also become pregnant and at the same time be infected with HIV. This fuels a whole world of social problems and can lend to depopulation in the long run. Jamaica looks to have a deep, dark future, this owing to the fact that a whole generation will be wiped out by AIDS.

The obvious question right now, is, what is its stance now in relation to people of the age group 9-19? The NATIONAL HIV/STD PREVENTION and CONTROL PROGRAMME FACTS and FIGURES JAMAICA AIDS REPORT 2002 stated a 4% increase in 2001 of reported AIDS cases on a broad spectrum. In that same year 66 children under 10 years old were documented as new carriers of AIDS, which is a 20% decline for the prior year. The report gave this decline as a consequence of infertility in women with HIV/AIDS. The death rate among children is spiraling up, this collaborated by the said report, where on average 3 children per month died of AIDS in the last three years. Psychologically children are left bruised and sometimes emotionally damaged when the parents die from this evil villain AIDS. The report spoke of 125 or more children under the age of 15 orphaned in 2001.The MINISTRY of HEALTH NATIONAL HIV/STD CONTROL PROGRAMME FACTS and FIGURES documented a summary of AIDS cases in Jamaica by age and sex from 1982-2001. Males and females in the age group 15-19 recorded 18 and 59 respectively. The total of both sexes ages 10-14 was 19, while males and females recorded a whapping 48 and 31 respectively. Further research revealed that these numbers would rise in the years to come.

According to the book, ETHICS and LAW in the STUDY of AIDS, written by the PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANINATION ‘there has been great hope and expectation-much of it false-that the AIDS epidemic might be eradicated by the “magic bullet” of technology. A vaccine for AIDS would be heaven on earth, but that is unlikely at this present time. Therefore one has to consider the present preventative measures, such as ABSTINATION, use of a condom every time one has sex, and having one faithful partner. These are the only safe ways to live and stay alive. Much research, money and human effort have gone into prevention programmes and educating the population about the AIDS epidemic. When the issuing of condoms into schools was discussed by health care professionals, many religious groups took offence and declared that our society was on an immoral path to hell, and that this kind of action would only seek to enfranchise sex among teens, consequently, only adding to the problem. The writer however perceives this only as a road block on the long path to at least slowing down infections.

The hard reality so painfully clear is that AIDS is dramatically increasing, and the teen population is a major contributor to this growing number. Abstinence and safe, regular condom use with one partner are the only ways out. TEENS HEAR ME NOW! WAIT, FOR IT WILL NEVER BE TOO LATE. AIDS KILLS! DO YOU WANT TO DIE?

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Pregnancy and Parenthood        Samaya Luton

Age:             l6yrs

Address:      Newell High School St. Elizabeth


Although pregnancy and parenthood are biologically connected yet in the true sense of the word they are separate entities, because ones body can a child, yet one can still not be psychologically, financially and emotionally capable to take care of their child, also a child can be adopted and have parents that are not biologically connected to him . Parenting is considered to be the person or persons who can best take care of the child by providing for all the child’s needs.

Pregnancy is the period when a female carries a developing baby within her body for a period of time until its birth. Most human babies take nine months. Pregnancy should be planned for, because if this is not done too many babies will be born with no proper means of survival and in society planning should be the priority of the human race in order to develop a healthier lifestyle. People who are sexually active should consider family planning. Family planning is the spacing of birth of each child so that the mother’s body can be physically ready to cope with the means of taking proper care of her offspring’s. Pregnancy should not be taken lightly, because it carries vital responsibilities.

Teenage girls should not allow themselves to be pregnant casually. They should not allow themselves to be coherent into getting sexually involved before they are ready, because the male will oftentimes leave the whole burden on the females, apart from having to endure the pregnancy for nine months and giving birth, they will be left with the emotional and financial responsibilities. Pregnancy is a time when the body undergoes changes, therefore a woman should seek or choose a healthier care provider for complete medical during pregnancy, and of course this takes money, so it will need both a mother and a father to provide the funds. Pregnancy can occur very easily so teenagers should get themselves well informed before getting sexually active, there are several myths of which teenagers should be aware especially the females. For example it is said a girl will not get pregnant if she has sex for the first time; this is not true. Ignorance is a major cause of pregnancy and when pregnancy does occur in this fashion life altering decisions have to be found to resolve the pregnancy either through abortion, adoption or parenthood; any of these decisions can really complicate life because either one can drastically alter the person’s life. Therefore factual information is essential during the adolescent years.

Some adolescent fourteen, fifteen and sixteen are sexually active. Facts have proven that most young people in the world begin having sexual intercourse during their teenage years and the greater the risk of unwanted pregnancy. When adolescents become unintentionally pregnant they face several difficulties in making decisions. Relatives, partners and friends would be expected to play an important role in the adolescent pregnancy decisions. Sometimes decisions about abortion, and parenthood are influence by adolescents’ of what their parents or peers think about their actions. Adolescent who terminate their pregnancy or relinquish their babies for adoption tend to come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, to have done well in school and have higher educational aspirations. Adolescents from more advantaged families and communities are less likely to have birth.

Family life or sex education in the public schools, which traditionally has consisted largely of providing factual information at the secondary school level, is the most general persuasive approach to preventing pregnancy among adolescents. The effect of sex education as offered in the public schools continues to be widely debated on especially in the United States.

Increases sexual knowledge and the introduction of contraception in schools have always raised questions among adults about promiscuity. Contraceptive services have not shown convincing evidence of success at reducing adolescent pregnancies or birth. Family planning services reduces unwanted pregnancy and in some instances may provide access to abortion. However, schools based programs do not reach older non-teen partners or schools dropouts.

Adolescents need to put off sex or use contraceptive to prevent unwanted pregnancy and parenthood until they have more concrete and at tamable future plans. Those who choose adoption are more likely to be younger and expect to have fewer children. Also, teen females with higher self-esteem have been found to, more likely to terminate their pregnancies, for example in the states where there is a greater risk of abortion. Abortion or single parenthood is lower for teens who have highly educated mothers.

Early pregnancy is occurring because of the lack of contraceptives and planning. The use of condoms to avoid sexually transmitted diseases not to mention HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI’S). Adolescent sexual behaviors are persuasive where as contraceptive does not convey to them both types of message.

Many kinds of adolescent pregnancy prevention programmed have been implemented in recent years. There is a greater need of prevention programs that have clear concrete, and attainable objectives, such as delaying pregnancy and increase the use of contraceptives.

In most cases adults are lacking proper parenting skills this is one of the main causes why so many adolescents become sexually active and go out to seek love. Parents should teach the children how to protect themselves if they recognize that their children are sexually active. A teenager needs to develop the skills to deal with social pressures, “negotiation, and refusal”. Many adolescent would be capable of postponing their sexually involvement if they were more aware of the facts of life.

Families who faced disadvantages, poverty, low educational aspirations, and limited economic opportunities are related to early unprotected sexual intercourse, unintended pregnancy, and unmarried adolescent parenting. Adolescent who experience educational and job success and perceive education position future opportunity for themselves should have stronger motivation for avoiding pregnancy and parenthood .It is difficult to prevent pregnancy by increasing a ~ knowledge and motivation to prevent pregnancy if the female is becoming pregnant as a result of non- voluntary sexual experience. There is no shortage of opinion as to what reduce adolescent pregnancy. Sexual education is one which is important and should be taken into consideration; adolescents need to think before going into action. Some teenagers do not give up their child for adoption; they prefer to bring the child into the world, raised them and take care of their social and economical and also emotional needs.

Adolescents who are having alcohol problem or drugs problem are not capable of taking care of a child, because a child must grow up in a home of respect and manners in order to develop a healthy lifestyle. Therefore proper knowledge of life is essential. Bringing a child into the world is not the only role of a mother. A mother must be able to have parenting skills in order to take care of a child. If adolescents have friends who are sexually active, they sometimes are motivated by peer pressure to partake in sexual intercourse which can lead to pregnancy.

A teenager must be able to plan for the future and have a vision of how they would want their lives to be.

Every child in the world has a father. They play a very important role in the welfare of the child. Unlike mothers, fathers are supposed to be the breadwinners in the home, although they may abandon the child to avoid the responsibilities. During pregnancy the father must be there for the mother to make her comfortable as she goes through several months of pregnancy and the rest of the child’s life. A father must develop the skills for proper parenting and a father must be involved in the child’s life socially, economically and emotionally. With this kind of parenting skills, the father would be able to manage the responsibilities for their children.

Although a single mother may be good at parenting she can never play the role that the father will be able to play in the child’s life. One must put on the armor of truth before venturing in the race of life, if one does this, one will more than likely reach the peak of ones aspiration.

In order to reduce pregnancy education is the only way to enhance self-esteem for male and female. It is important to hold on to certain standards in life. In conclusion I say in youth we must build if we wish to reap a harvest of achievement in maturity. Family life or sex education should be considered a number one priority in all schools; this probably would help to minimize pregnancy among adolescence.

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By Terrion Swaby


According to the world book encyclopedia, pregnancy is usually the time between conception and birth in which the embryo or foetus is developing in some species, or in other words it is the period between fertilization of an ova by a sperm and the birth of a developed foetus.

Pregnancy is one of those events in life that requires readiness. Two women, one ready and the other not, experience very different emotions, commence from the community, friends and sometimes spouses. These situations can make the difference between a happy mother or a sad one, an unhappy, fussy baby or a happy, well adjusted baby. A strong well supported mother will be able to give her child the love, affection, attention and socialization he needs to take his place in the world around him. When a young girl becomes pregnant she faces serious emotional traumas because she has let down herself and her parents who were depending on her. They would have worked hard to see her become successful in life.


Why do young women go out and get pregnant? One major reason is because they are not governed by guidelines. How do guidelines help teens today? According to Josh McDowell in “Why Wait” guidelines help exercise decisiveness and self control. When young people follow guidelines, they learn to obey and learn self control. It has been said wisely that if you don’t have enough will power to stand up to someone else you will never have the will power to stand up to yourself. Self control and decisiveness are two important elements of maturity. These two powerful tools will help teenagers deal with sexual temptations surrounding them.


“Parents” as defined in the world book encyclopedia refers to the father and mother of a person. Preparation for parenthood is a whole lot of work in order to become ideal parents a lot of preparation is necessary. These include knowledge of family planning techniques, having patience to deal with difficulties of child rearing, being able to provide the child or children with necessities of life such as food, shelter and clothing and being knowledgeable of religious beliefs so as to pass them on to their offspring’s~, and dealing with other important operations. Parents may be punished if they are cruel and abusive to their children.


According to the book “A Guide to Successful Parenting” written by Nancy Vanpelt one of the most difficult and challenging task in life is to take an infant, a totally helpless little person, and assume full responsibility for raising him so that he or she will eventually be a self discipline, productive member of society. Most parents, however, stumble along left largely on their own with occasional hints from such psychologists as Doctor James Dobson author of the best seller “Dear to Discipline”. Most parents bravely battle toys strewed rooms and furious cries of No! No! and the next day they deal with pinching and who gets the wagon. Although the problem changes, they never end, and parents plung on doing their best. They invest time energy and money. They spare no effort — proper food and clothes, expensive toys. Yet despite all their good intention, some parents are disappointed in their youngsters’ behaviour. The children may fail their classes or disobey, they may be lazy, or uncooperative, or disrespectful. They may demand attention or fight with each other if they have sibling, or try patience to limit. Parents with rightfully intention ask “How can my children be disobedient when I try so hard”.


Fathers play a very important role in the lives of both his children or child or their mothers. Fathers can help a lot before the birth of their offspring’s by caring for the mother and helping her to have a good diet and maintaining regular visits to the clinic or physician. As she becomes larger she will need more help around the house. It is known that some fathers are present at the birth of their offspring. After the birth the mother will need a lot of love as she settles into her new role. The father can assist in taking care of the child. The mother must, however, be careful not to ignore the father, which is not done deliberately, but he may feel jealous of the attention given to the baby; so he therefore still needs love, affection and understanding from the mother.


In addition the father must also be certain that he is able to provide economically for his wife and his offspring. Fathers must always be able to assist his family financially by providing food, shelter and clothing and other necessities. They must be able to provide emotional support by being comforting to mothers and offspring when needed and most of all their needs to be understanding.


In the event however, that a young girl gets pregnant, the father of the child might be somebody who is very young and cannot handle the responsibilities of giving emotional comfort or financial assistance. He sometime has to keep clear of the girl’s home because of the way the parents will react towards him. He may even disown the child out of fear or anger because of the girl becoming pregnant. Sometimes these unprepared fathers to be will even request abortion or the parents of the boy may request it. If it is an older man, he may not want anyone to find out that he was having sexual relations with a teenage girl especially if she is under the age of consent. This may prompt him to try and disown the child. Whatever the situation, the young mother usually suffers from fear, uncertainty and anxiety.


Parenting is a skill that requires maturity and preparation. Just as a doctor or lawyer has to prepare for years to be good at his profession, similarly a parent needs time to be ready; ready to pass on life skills to this young child who for several years of his or her life will look to parents for almost everything. Teach young people words of God and show them love of God. Without this knowledge kids are adrift. They will have no basis on which to make decisions. They will have no security. A knowledge of the laws of God will help young people develop good moral standards and live fulfilling lives.


In order for teenage pregnancy to decrease, sex education should be taught from an early age. This will enable children to go into adulthood knowing acceptable sexual behaviours, the consequences of a promiscuous lifestyle and being able to differentiate between the two. In addition, they will know the dangers that will arise from promiscuous behaviours and not\ indulge in unsafe sexual activities; or to abstain. Thus sexual education should be a must in schools and this will most definitely help to save teenagers from the sentence of teenage pregnancy.

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