Toolit Robert, AHAPPY, Uganda
The biggest hope in the struggle to defeat HIV and AIDS relies on parenting style. Parents have a critical role to play in promoting the development of their children from infancy. Those who actively teach their children social skills and comprehensive sex education are effectively equipping them with “survival skills” for a successful life. Ultimately it is up to parents to encourage their children to grow into respectful and responsible moral agents who engage in positive relationships that honour the interests of others.
Access to basic education about sexuality and how to take care of one’s own health remains a challenge. A lack of access means that young people are far more vulnerable to all kinds of risks including premature sex, alcoholism, pornography, and drug abuse.
In my view, antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) today pose a risk factor for HIV infection. This is simply because some young people no longer worry about the pain of AIDS. They engage in careless sex because they assume they can take ARVs if they get infected. I have heard many, many comments to this effect: young people believe they’ll live long with drug prescriptions, and this has distorted attitudes towards HIV and AIDS education. Few people respond to AIDS education campaigns today.