JIS News

In keeping with this year’s theme for Safer Sex Week, “Smart Women always Buy, Carry and use Condoms”, Director of the National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD), Roberta Brown-Ellis, wants young people, especially women, to behave more sexually responsible.
Approximately 456, 303 young people, aged 15-24 years, live in Jamaica, of which 228, 345 are females. In spite of extensive public education campaigns promoting safe sex practices, research continues to show that a significant number of them do not practice safe sex.
The Ministry of Health’s Jamaica HIV/AIDS Epidemic Update reports that between January and June, 2008, 173 females reportedly had AIDS and an additional 77 died from the disease. In light of this, the National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD) is fully supporting the Ministry of Health’s Safer Sex Week, February 7 – 14.
The NCYD says it is particularly pleased with this year’s theme, which calls on females to be more proactive in their approach to safer sex practices. Though there are many existing contraceptive practices, the male condom is the most commonly endorsed, which leaves the responsibility of safe sex to males.
However, in ensuring safer sex, both males and females should assume responsibility for their sexual and reproductive health and be mindful of the risks involved in unsafe sexual practices.
Mrs. Brown-Ellis urged youth organizations to inform young women about responsible sexual practices.
She stated that youth-serving organizations ought to empower young women, so that they are able to have the upper hand if they are placed in a position where they have to negotiate the use of a condom.
“Even as statistics reflect a high percentage of sexually active young people, we urge females to be apart of the ‘Pinch, Leave an Inch.’ campaign by using condoms, which would be very helpful, if their male partners are without,” Mrs. Brown-Ellis stated.
“We have the responsibility to empower our young women to make the right decisions,” she added.
The impact of HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancy on the youth population is a critical matter to the NCYD, which is striving to make young people more aware of the importance of safer sex practices.
Ideally, the Centre would prefer young people to abstain from sexual activities, until they are emotionally, physically and economically capable of dealing with consequences. However, for those who have started, the Centre implores them to be sexually responsible and aware.

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