The Role of the Family in Prevention of Hiv/Aids among Youths in the Society

The Role of the Family in Prevention of Hiv/Aids among Youths in the Society: A Case Study of Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State

HIV for Human Immune Deficiency Virus is the virus that can lead to AIDs – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

Literature Review

The Hunters Theory

The widely accepted theory is that the virus emerged in the animal kingdom through the rhesus monkey and chimpanzee. The virus known as Simian (monkey) Immune Deficiency Virus (SIV), exist in the monkey kingdom.

There have been stories of hunters eating infected monkey. Some people think some humans may have had sex with such monkeys (bestiality). Research has shown that both strains of HIV (HIV 1 and HIV 2) are almost identical to SIV. History of HIV/AIDs: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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2.1.2 Contaminated Vaccine Theory

It has been claimed that parts of animals have been mixed with blood products and then used in vaccine programme. For instance, it was suggested that monkey parts were mixed with a polio vaccine given to thousands of people in Congo during the 1950’s (recently this theory has been debunked, as researchers have managed to obtain some of the remaining vaccine and broken down the component; no trace of animal parts were found. Agent summary statement – centers for disease control.

2.1.3 Blood Product Theory

Blood products also have large capacity in spreading the virus. Their impact can be dated back to the 1960s. At this time, blood transfusion drastically outnumbered the supply and countries like USA began to offer money to donors. Some of these donors where drug users, homosexuals and a lot had many sexual partners. This blood were sold and distributed round the world. The people worst affected were hemophiliacs prior to 1990, donated blood was not screened in the United Kingdom and most parts of the world. Balkin (2004).

2.2 Mode of Transmission

In humans, HIV is present in blood and body fluids (semen, vaginal secretion and saliva). HIV can be transmitted through a number of ways and the risk of transmission depends on a number of factor.   Undoubtedly, blood contains the highest concentration of HIV, hence the risk infected persons blood, poses a much higher risk of infection than with other body fluids. 10 myths about HIV/AIDs – health promotion board (Myth 8 & 9).

The most widely recognize ways of acquiring HIV are:

  • Having sexual intercourse (vaginal and or oral) without a condom with someone who is HIV positive.
  • Sharing needles, syringes or other drugs injecting equipment with someone who is infected with HIV.
  • A HIV positive mother to her child during pregnancy, delivery and while breast feeding.
  • Blood transfusion, blood products or organ transplant in countries where screening is not mandatory or commonly practiced.
  • Tattooing, shaving, cutting or piercing the skin with improperly sterilized equipments, which may be infected with the virus.

2.3 Prevention

On a worldwide basis, unprotected sexual intercourse is the main route of HIV transmission. More than ninety four percent of infected people got the virus through sexual acts by Terrace Higgin Trust. Therefore, the surest way of preventing HIV is through abstinence from sex. In the case of married individuals with infected partners and for those who cannot abstain and keep to one sex partner, they should use a new condom for every sexual act engaged in.

Making sure that every needle or sharp object going into the skin is properly sterilized can also prevent HIV. Blood for blood transfusion should be properly screened for the virus before being used. There are drugs and other medical procedures that ensure that HIV is not transmitted from mother to child, Balkin (2004).

Human Immune Deficiency Virus is of two types, HIV 1 and HIV 2. HIV when uncontrolled destroys the body’s immune system which can later lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, a condition where the immune system becomes weak. This therefore makes the affected individual susceptible to opportunistic infections, (that is infections that take opportunity of the weak immune system of the individual to invade the body) such as cough, tuberculosis, thrush, diarrhea and the individual may experience up to ten percent loss in body weight. There is a special test to determine the presence of HIV in the body of an individual, though it is advised that persons taking this test, should retake it after three months, because the virus may not manifest until about three months after infection – this is known as the window period, Whyte (2002:31).

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HIV/AIDs amongst youth is fast becoming a worrisome trend. A lot of factors have been attributed for this. In Africa, HIV is mainly contacted through unprotected sex.

Reasons attributed to premarital and unprotected sex amongst youths include:

Ignorance

According to William and Hindell (1972:16), widespread ignorance particularly amongst teenagers about sex and contraception is an important factor in the background of unwanted pregnancy and spread of sexually transmitted infections.  Most youths do not know the implications of being sexually active at an early age, moreover, having unprotected sex. Many parents on the other hand are not completely exonerated from ignorance. Bringing this point into focus; Cheetan, (1971:56) states “it is recognized that the ignorance or the embarrassment of many parents often make them unsuitable as the main source of information or education about sex. Parents own embarrassment or ignorance means that they are likely to be nonchalant towards their children’s sexuality. While it may be accepted that ignorance and confusion described can help explain the sexual behavior of the relatively unsophisticated, Cheetan, (1971:57) explains that “unwanted pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases amongst the better educated are often greeted with amazement, as a symptom of apparently incomprehensible ignorance or with disgust as a sign of obvious irresponsibility”.

Akinwade (2001:48) has observed, “a lot of people are ignorant about HIV/AIDs. People even amongst the elite, do not believe it exists. A lot more have not even heard of it. Most people imagine it to be the figment of the imagination of the white man. This poses a lot of problem for African, where the rate of infection is alarming and growing by the day, especially amongst the youths which make up a large percent of the sexually active group”.

Communication gap

The Watch Tower (May, 5, 1999) reports that in1997, study of more than 12,000 American teenagers, it was discovered that youths who have close relationship with parents are less likely to engage in indiscriminate sexual acts.

However, the watch tower states that, the survey showed that each working day, the Japanese fathers spend only 36 minutes with their children in comparison to fathers in Germany, who were spending 44 minutes with their children. In United States, the figure was 56 minutes while statistic in Nigeria is unavailable; the country is probably facing the same problem.

In Nigeria, the traditional pattern of living where mothers stay at home to raise the children is fast changing. Women are now fully involved in office and business activities thereby having less time for the children. Also a lot of parents are traveling aboard in search of the “golden fleece” if there is no confidential talk between children and their parents because of lack of time, youths can become strangers in their own homes.

Youths generally crave for attention and not getting it from home, may lead them to the hands of friends and members of the opposite sex, relationship leads to pressure to engage in drugs use and most often leads to sex. Most youths are relatively inexperienced and hence do not negotiate for safe sex, which can lead to infection of HIV, sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy. Cheetan (1971:56) there are fears expressed by some parents, that discussion of sexual behavior and especially contraception will encourage teenagers to behave in ways that would otherwise not have occurred to them. One consequence of those anxieties, states Cheetan: “has being that, sexual education often focuses on the physiology of reproduction and is not related more widely to the whole spectrum of human relationships, the information imparted is therefore quite likely to be misunderstood or seen irrelevant to its recipient and unrelated to meaningful notions of reality or responsibility”. Undoubtedly, lack of communication between parents and their children lead those children to seek information from outside.

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Poverty

Based on a 2002 report from the health institution in Harare, seventy-two percent of young people between the ages of 17 – 36 years, living with HIV/AIDs come from very poor background. The report state further “sixty four percent of these young people are females and fifty one percent of these females engage4 in commercial sex work because of poverty”, Olu (2003).

Akingba (1998:17) mentioned the fact that youths especially girls from relatively average homes get themselves involved in sex because of the desire for money to buy expensive clothes and jewelry. They have the notion that parents cannot adequately take care of their material needs. Based on this fact, they engage in sexual intercourse with members of the opposite sex who lavish them with money. In most cases, it leads to pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

A lot of girls cannot negotiate for safe sex, because such responsibilities are seen as that of the men. It is the man, whom most often than not, takes the initiative to use condom during sex.

According to Olu (2003:31) “many adolescents especially those residing in urban areas engage in sex purely for material gain. Moreover, since most families find it difficult to eat three meals a day because of low income, some parents use their young teens for hawking material that help supplement their family income.

Expressing the danger in these practice, Onokerorhaye (1995:72) states “exposure to adulthood arising from responsibilities such as hawking wares assigned to children, exposes them to unprotected sex. Early premarital sex lends to pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases”.

Sad to say, many youths are trading sex for money, while other are sold into prostitution because their families cannot provide their basic needs, thus making them exposed to the dreaded HIV/AIDs.

Role of mass media

While the media is very important in dissemination information to members of the publishers a lot of youth are constantly bombarded with images of premarital sex and responsible messages.

According to Davis (1993:29), it is estimated that in the United States, there are approximately 14,000 sexual references on television annually and that none of these deal with topics such as sex education and contraception.

The vast majority of sex shown on today’s soap opera involves people, who in most cases, are not married to each other. Given these role models, it is no wonder that youth trivialize sex and do not consider the realities.

A lot of writers create sexual fantasies in their writing. Consider the instruction a publisher of romantic novels gives, “sexual encounter should concentrate on passion aroused by the heroes and caresses. It should evoke excitement, tension and a deep emotional and sexual response in the reader” Watcher Tower (1999).

Interestingly, sexuality explicit sites on the internet is one of the most visited by youths. These sites edify and glorify sex. Never in these sites will one ever be advised to practice safe sex, Duncan (2002:18).

SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION

5.1 SUMMARY

This study examines the role of the family in preventing HIV/AIDs amongst youths. The influence of level of education of parents, economic status of parents and communication between parents and their wards in preventing HIV/AIDs amongst youth. Relevant literatures were quite revealing. The focus of this section, is to present the summary of our major findings, including making recommendations.

READ  The Role of the Family in Prevention of Hiv/Aids among Youths in the Society

5.2 RECOMMENDATIONS

After a careful study of the role of parents in preventing HIV/AIDs amongst youths, it then follows recommendations should be made on how parents and the government can play a significant role in preventing HIV/AIDs amongst their youths. To this end, the following recommendations are advanced here in the study.

  1. The government should encourage its citizens to acquire formal education. Education brings about enlightenment, which is the key to development, stability and positive change. Adult literacy classes should be established in all parts of the country and should be made affordable to help reduce the rate of illiteracy amongst the order population. It is when parents are educated that they would encourage their children to be educated. Education eradicates ignorance, which is a major factor responsible for the spread of HIV/AIDs in the society. The government should make it compulsory for every child to be educated at least at junior secondary school level and cost of school fees and books should be subsidized, this will enable more people get education and enlightenment.
  2. The government should put in place measures to ensure that workers are paid decent wages. Though, from our research, we found out that parents income did not necessarily correlate with their wards engaging in unprotected sex, it did correlate with sharing of grooming instrument. Thus, we can safely say that youths mainly share grooming instruments because they cannot readily afford to buy theirs due to their parent’s low income. Therefore, an increase in parents income will significantly help to reduce cases of youths sharing grooming instruments because they cannot afford theirs.
  3. Government and non-governmental organizations should organize frequent campaigns, seminars and symposiums. Lectures on sex education should be organized for the general public on regular basis. This will help to reduce ignorance and spread of HIV/AIDs.
  4. Government should take steps to ensure that sex education is included in secondary school curriculum. It must be emphasized that sex education is different from biology. If youths are well advised about sex the rate of premarital sex, teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections will decline significantly.
  5. Parents should learn to communicate with their wards, spending time to discuss about matters of life including sex and sexual matters. These usually pays long term dividends, advice from parents usually prevents youths from engaging in acts that can ruin their life expectations and even their lives.
    • CONCLUSION

Conclusively, we hope that research has being enlightening on the role of the family in this case. Parents in preventing HIV/AIDs amongst youth in the Nigeria society using Asaba town as a case study. Hopefully, if the recommendation stated are adhered to, there will be a significant reduction in engagement in risky behaviours amongst youths that lead to HIV/AIDs.

The Role of the Family in Prevention of Hiv/Aids among Youths in the Society: A Case Study of Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta State

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