According to a piece of research from the Philippine Daily Inquirer:
A total of 560 Filipino youth aged 15 to 24 years were recorded as HIV-positive from January to October last year. In October alone, 65 cases of HIV in the same age bracket were recorded by the Department of Health.
My first thought was, “No way!?” After all the LCM and True Love Waits seminars that ministries are conducting, young people are still, well, promiscuous and sexually active.
But then again, this is the 21st century, and young people’s sexuality are very much influenced by the media, which is in turn influenced by the highly sexually charged Western media.
Five hundred sixty young people, with HIV?!
That’s just sad. The lives of these kids will never be the same again. Sure, there’s a sorta cure for HIV-the anti-retroviral (ARV) drug, which could prolong the life of a person with HIV. Still, that’s no substitute for a life without HIV.
But who’s to blame?
Partly, it’s the HIV victims. You could say that they had it coming. They might have experimented with many sexual partners. Or, who’s to say that they had lots of sexual partners because they saw prostitution as their only chance from debilitating poverty?
These HIV victims might have been abused, raped, or what have you? Then they are really victims in every sense of the word.
I doubt that 560 is the real number. Those are the only reported cases. There may be other cases that remain unreported, festering in the dark, waiting to be discovered when it is far too late for the victim and any sexual partners they may have had.
Which brings us to another important question. HIV is but a symptom of a bigger social malady. There’s the issue of responsible sexuality; parental supervision of Filipino youth; providing for the needs and well-being of these youth so they could become good citizens.
Seen in this way, we could say that it is the fault of the society why there are HIV victims. Fault-finding, and blaming, however, will not solve the problem. As a society, we should recognize our collective role in preventing the spread of HIV.
As a church, what’s our role in spreading knowledge about HIV and AIDS?
Too often, we shrink in the corner when confronted with the need of educating our young people about their sexuality, and what it means. The secular world, particularly the media, goes all out in showing cheap sex in front of Filipino young people. When the church is silent, then young people would listen to the noisiest source of information.
Perhaps, we need to reexamine our efforts at teaching LCM (Love, courtship and marriage) topics, and really address SEX, sexuality and reproductive health openly and intelligently using Christian perspective. And by Christian, I don’t mean conservative Lola-mentality, but rather, an informed view based on our Wesleyan heritage, you know the Wesleyan quadrilateral–scripture, reason, experience, and tradition.
The people in Africa no longer has a choice. That’s why, sex education is mandatory even among young children. While we hesitate on the fine points of a bill such as the RH bill in the Philippines, other countries are way ahead of us in teaching their young how to deal with matters involving sex and sexuality.
So, I dare you, with February 2012 and the Love Feast, Love Congress, Love Courtship Marriage seminars and events coming up, why don’t you take a diversion, change your strategy and talk about SEX.
I assure you, your young people will be all ears!