“Understand that sexuality is as wide as the sea. Understand that your morality is not law. Understand that we are not you. Understand that if we decide to have sex whether safe, safer, or unsafe, it is our decision and you have no rights in our lovemaking.” -Derek Jarman, film director and stage designer. This quote embodies the correlation of human sexuality to free-will. Nonetheless, sexuality is beyond our sexual activities. It is a broad subject which is usually shaped by our upbringing, culture, values, education and life experiences.
Sexuality becomes more apparent in our lives during adolescence. During this period of our life cycle, physical, emotional and cognitive changes happen which triggers sexual expression. Moreover, sexuality begins to be an important aspect of our romantic relationships. Thus, understanding sexuality will help us develop rational and coherent set of sexual views and values. Sexuality education is far beyond knowing the male and female reproductive systems. It also encompasses principles of safe sex, hygiene, reproductive rights, family planning, interpersonal relationships, body positivity and eliminating misogyny and homophobia. Teaching of human sexuality also seeks to evaluate various imagery related to sex and relationships.
For generations, adolescents in various cultures were not given comprehensive information regarding these matters for being open about sex is considered taboo. Most often than not, adolescents, especially females were given the instruction from elders to abstain from sex until marriage. However, the increased incidence of teenage pregnancies and the outbreak of various sexually transmitted disease in the 19th has given an urgency to give adolescents access to sex education. The outbreak of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) implicated the lack of valuable knowledge in responsible sexual intercourse. Alarmingly, there are about 36.9 million people globally now living with HIV, most of which living in sub-Saharan Africa thereby attracting international medical and political attention. People with AIDS have an increased risk of developing various viral-induced cancers such as cervical cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma and primary central nervous system lymphoma.
AM I AT RISK?
If you had unprotected sex with multiple partners or with someone of unknown HIV status, you are at risk for HIV. This is regardless of age, sex, race, socio-economic status and sexual preference. Moreover, one is also at risk for HIV status when one shared drug injections and other equipment.
Did you know that one (1) in every eight (8) people with HIV does not know his or her status? If you fall under the HIV at risk status, it is important to get tested. Moreover, at risk individuals should also explore STD screening options in a private clinic. But even one does not fall in the at risk status, you may feel free to get tested as well for guarantee and peace of mind. In fact, research shows that knowledge of one’s HIV status is linked to lower risk for acquiring and transmitting the virus. It you are scared to take the screening, one may under counseling prior to getting tested. In this manner, personal issues preventing you from getting tested can be discussed. You would also be enlightened on how HIV can affect you emotionally, socially and even financially. Famous personalities also showed support for HIV testing. The reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach went to health center in New York and got tested. Pia Wurtzbach has been a strong advocate of promoting HIV and AIDS awareness worldwide, especially to the youth.