Youth & HIV AIDS Pages

Despite advances in information systems, research and clinical practice, HIV/AIDS is a threat to the youth of today. In fact, as per UNAIDS estimates, 35% of all new infections occur in the 15-49 years age group, and 37% of reported AIDS cases were diagnosed among people under 30 years of age. Young people need the tools to protect themselves from HIV infection and we know a lot about what works.

However, youth are quite often misinformed or reckless and often not able to comprehend fully the extent of their exposure to the virus. Societal norms make it even more difficult for young ones to learn about their sexual health. Peer pressures easily influence them – often in ways that increase their risk.

Most of us are aware that a condom is a must during intercourse to prevent against HIV/AIDS, various other sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. However, the condom has been at the center of controversy and gossip and the information below will hopefully clear the air and put the record straight.
Two condoms safer? No way!
Plenty of people think that using two condoms is safer. Utter nonsense! In fact, this is a bad idea. The friction of one condom rubbing against another could cause both to rupture, leaving you completely defenseless. Latex condoms in particular are not designed to rub against one another. Save yourself the trouble and the money and stick to one at a time.
Condoms are useful
Some people also believe that condoms are ineffectual which is completely untrue. When properly used, a condom can greatly reduce the risk of HIV transmission. The important thing is that you know how to use a condom properly and that you use a new condom every time that you have sex. In fact, in terms of contraception, condoms are 97 percent effective in ‘perfect use’ and 86 percent effective with typical use. Perfect use is not hard to accomplish; it consists mainly of just putting on the condom correctly. The most important thing that you can do is to use a new condom every single time that you have sex.
Condoms don’t have holes
There is a notion that condoms have holes that HIV can pass through. This is not at all true as long as you use a latex or polyurethane condom. Semen and vaginal fluids, which can contain HIV, cannot get through a latex or polyurethane condom. In fact viruses that are smaller than HIV cannot pass through condoms either. When condoms are manufactured (on a mould) they are dipped into the latex, dried, and then dipped in again to ensure that any pores large enough for a virus to pass through are sealed.
Condoms don’t interfere with pleasure
Men generally feel that condoms come in the way of pleasure. Today, thanks to Technology, condoms are tailor-made for sensual pleasure while providing maximum security. There are different types of condoms designed for you and your partner to indulge in.
Condoms a must
The rumor mills have been doing the rounds on this one for quite a while. Condoms don’t have to be used when the female is on birth control. A distortion of facts. Birth control medication prevents pregnancy. That’s it! It can’t prevent the transmission of HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.
Please indicate if you agree or disagree with the following statements and see if your answers match ours.
Thank you!
HIV is the same as AIDS.
 Yes  No
HIV only affects gay men – It’s a “gay disease”.
 Yes  No
We both have HIV so we don’t’ need to use a condom during sex.
 Yes  No
People over the age of 50 don’t get HIV.
 Yes  No
I have HIV.I can’t have children.
 Yes  No
You don’t need to use a condom during oral sex.
 Yes  No
HIV can be cured.
 Yes  No
I got tested right after I had unprotected sex and I was negative. I’m fine!
 Yes  No
HIV is scary – the best way to protect myself is to avoid anyone who is HIV+.
 Yes  No
It is your fault if you get infected – you just have to stop having promiscuous sex and using drugs to not get it.
 Yes  No
I don’t look or feel sick – I can’t be infected!
 Yes  No
The best way to control AIDS in the developing world is through prevention. Costly treatment should wait until prevention programs have been fully funded and deployed.
 Yes  No
AIDS treatment in the developing world is impossible because antiretroviral drugs are too expensive and because developing countries lack the infrastructure necessary to deliver the drugs.
 Yes  No
An HIV vaccine will soon be available, and this will solve the AIDS crisis.
 Yes  No
HIV/AIDS treatment is an invasion of Western medicine / culture
 Yes  No
Women can “shed” the HIV infection through their monthly menstruation cycles.
 Yes  No
You only get the virus if you have “weak blood”.
 Yes  No
HIV is a punishment for moral shortcomings or lack of self-control.
 Yes  No
If you have HIV and you have sex with a virgin you will be cured
 Yes  No
HIV/AIDS is a private matter that should not be discussed in public
 Yes  No
Ordinary people can do very little to help in the fight against AIDS
 Yes  No
How to TALK to your partner about SAFER SEX
Whether you choose to have sex or not, it is important to be able to talk about sex. It can be uncomfortable to have direct conversations about sex, but it does get easier if you are confident about your facts. Bottom line: When it comes to sex, good communication is important, with friends, health care providers, parents/family, and your boyfriend or girlfriend.
If a couple is going to have sex, it’s important for them to talk things over first. They need to discuss topics like their sexual boundaries and contraception so they can protect themselves against pregnancy and STDs. It’s important that couples ask each other about STDs. But remember, since others can’t always be counted on to be honest about their STD status – especially because they may not even know they have one – using condoms for protection – always – is very important.
Of course, if you have an STD, it’s good to be honest. Not only will it help you take the right precautions to protect your health and your partner’s health – by either abstaining from intercourse until an outbreak is over or practicing safer sex – it also shows your partner that you care for and respect him or her. Chances are, your partner will appreciate your truthfulness, and such honesty may even strengthen the emotional bond between you.
Here are some tips professionals offer about how to have that talk.
Choose a time and place that’s relaxed and comfortable before you get intimate (ideally that means before you take your clothes off!).
Be sure to arm yourself with facts so that you can answer any questions your partner may have. You might want to start the conversation on a positive note – for example, by telling your partner that you really care for him or her and that’s why you want to discuss something important. If part of what you want to tell your partner is about an STD you have, you might say that last year, you found out you carry HPV, or that you just learned that you have chlamydia and you want him or her to get checked out. If you have genital herpes, you might explain that you sometimes get sores in the genital area.
Keep it simple and just give the facts about symptoms, treatment, how the disease is spread, and how you can protect each other. This is a difficult conversation that will likely stir up a lot of emotions, but try to think of this as simply sharing vital information.
Then give your partner some time and space to digest the news. After all, it probably took you a while when you first heard. Offer to provide more information or an STD hotline number. With time, most people take the news pretty well and don’t let it stand in the way of the relationship (and if they don’t take it well, it’s better to find out before the relationship goes too far.) With everything that’s been learned in recent years about STDs and their transmission, it’s entirely possible for people with an STD to have a satisfying sex life without passing infection to their partners.
Source (content & images) = It’s Your (Sex) Life
Your Guide to Safe & Responsible Sex
THE HENRY J. KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION