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  • Scott Geibel
    My apologies if someone posted this already... after seeing so many stories about Zambian leaders caving to the church position on condom promotion, Swaziland
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 27, 2001
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      My apologies if someone posted this already... after seeing so many stories about Zambian leaders caving to the church position on condom promotion, Swaziland banning miniskirts, etc- it's interesting to see an African leader talking about looking more closely at relationships, as well as being open to changing societal norms of how men treat women and girls.
       
       

      June 20, 2001

      A Time for Frankness on AIDS and Africa

      By PASCOAL MOCUMBI

      MAPUTO, Mozambique ? In the special United Nations session on AIDS next week, there will be much

      discussion about international aid, about drugs and vaccines. But there is likely to be too little said about

      what is the primary means by which AIDS is spread in sub-Saharan Africa: risky heterosexual sex.

      AIDS is not like smallpox or polio. We may not be able to eliminate it simply with a one-time vaccination or

      course of shots for children, since new strains of H.I.V. are constantly evolving. And unlike the communicable

      killer diseases we have encountered most often in the past, H.I.V. is transmitted through the most intimate and

      private human relationships, through sexual violence and commercial sex; it proliferates because of women's

      poverty and inequality.

      In Mozambique, the overall rate of H.I.V. infection among girls and young women ? 15 percent ? is twice

      that of boys their age, not because the girls are promiscuous, but because nearly three out of five are married by

      age 18, 40 percent of them to much older, sexually experienced men who may expose their wives to H.I.V. and

      sexually transmitted diseases. Similar patterns are common in other nations where H.I.V. is rapidly spreading.

      Abstinence is not an option for these child brides. Those who try to negotiate condom use commonly face

      violence or rejection. And in heterosexual sex, girls and women are biologically more vulnerable to infection

      than are boys or men.

      As a father, I fear for the lives of my own children and their teenage friends. Though they have secure families,

      education, and the information and support they need to avoid risky sex, too few of their peers do.

      As prime minister, I am horrified that we stand to lose most of a generation, maybe two. The United Nations

      estimates that 37 percent of the 16-year-olds in my country will die of AIDS before they are 30.

      As a man, I know men's behavior must change, that we must raise boys differently, to have any hope of

      eradicating H.I.V. and preventing the emergence of another such scourge.

      In 1994, at the International Conference on Population and Development, and again in 1995, 1999 and 2000,

      most nations agreed that adolescents have a right to information about their sexuality. We agreed that programs

      should help build adolescent girls' self-confidence and boys' respect for girls' rights. We agreed to develop both

      adolescent- friendly health services and the education and training that will give young people hope.

      Today, in Africa and elsewhere, we are far from achieving these goals. Most political leaders still view

      adolescent sex as a politically volatile subject to be avoided. Community and religious leaders wrongly believe

      that sexuality education promotes promiscuity. Health providers and teachers are ill-trained about sexuality and

      ill at ease with it. Parents know little about sexuality, contraception or sexually transmitted diseases, and many

      believe that early marriage will "protect" their daughters. They may themselves condone or perpetrate sexual

      violence as a legitimate expression of masculinity.

      For the long term, we need to develop H.I.V. vaccines and provide treatment to everyone with H.I.V. We need

      to develop protection methods like microbicides that women can use with or without a partner's knowledge or

      cooperation. Above all, we must summon the courage to talk frankly and constructively about sexuality. We

      must recognize the pressures on our children to have sex that is neither safe nor loving. We must provide them

      with information, communications skills and, yes, condoms.

      To change fundamentally how girls and boys learn to relate to each other and how men treat girls and women is

      slow, painstaking work. But surely our children's lives are worth the effort.

      Pascoal Mocumbi, prime minister of Mozambique and its former minister of health, is a physician and a

      board member of the International Women's Health Coalition.

       

       

       

      Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company | Privacy Information

    • Paul DEVER
      Thanks for the story....The irony in all this is likened to the teaching of sex-ed in the schools here...parents don t want the school to teach, but they are
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 28, 2001
      • 0 Attachment
        Thanks for the story....The irony in all this is likened to the teaching of
        sex-ed in the schools here...parents don't want the school to teach, but
        they are also unwilling to teach it themselves...

        If the church/youth groups/ etc. want to take charge of anything, they
        should at least change strategies if they see it not working (common sense I
        believe it is called)...


        ----Original Message Follows----
        From: "Scott Geibel" <scottgeibel@...>
        Reply-To: ujeni@yahoogroups.com
        To: "Malawi RPCVs" <ujeni@yahoogroups.com>
        Subject: [ujeni] post-news news
        Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 09:11:45 +0300

        My apologies if someone posted this already... after seeing so many stories
        about Zambian leaders caving to the church position on condom promotion,
        Swaziland banning miniskirts, etc- it's interesting to see an African leader
        talking about looking more closely at relationships, as well as being open
        to changing societal norms of how men treat women and girls.


        June 20, 2001

        A Time for Frankness on AIDS and Africa

        By PASCOAL MOCUMBI

        MAPUTO, Mozambique ? In the special United Nations session on AIDS next
        week, there will be much

        discussion about international aid, about drugs and vaccines. But there is
        likely to be too little said about

        what is the primary means by which AIDS is spread in sub-Saharan Africa:
        risky heterosexual sex.

        AIDS is not like smallpox or polio. We may not be able to eliminate it
        simply with a one-time vaccination or

        course of shots for children, since new strains of H.I.V. are constantly
        evolving. And unlike the communicable

        killer diseases we have encountered most often in the past, H.I.V. is
        transmitted through the most intimate and

        private human relationships, through sexual violence and commercial sex; it
        proliferates because of women's

        poverty and inequality.

        In Mozambique, the overall rate of H.I.V. infection among girls and young
        women ? 15 percent ? is twice

        that of boys their age, not because the girls are promiscuous, but because
        nearly three out of five are married by

        age 18, 40 percent of them to much older, sexually experienced men who may
        expose their wives to H.I.V. and

        sexually transmitted diseases. Similar patterns are common in other nations
        where H.I.V. is rapidly spreading.

        Abstinence is not an option for these child brides. Those who try to
        negotiate condom use commonly face

        violence or rejection. And in heterosexual sex, girls and women are
        biologically more vulnerable to infection

        than are boys or men.

        As a father, I fear for the lives of my own children and their teenage
        friends. Though they have secure families,

        education, and the information and support they need to avoid risky sex, too
        few of their peers do.

        As prime minister, I am horrified that we stand to lose most of a
        generation, maybe two. The United Nations

        estimates that 37 percent of the 16-year-olds in my country will die of AIDS
        before they are 30.

        As a man, I know men's behavior must change, that we must raise boys
        differently, to have any hope of

        eradicating H.I.V. and preventing the emergence of another such scourge.

        In 1994, at the International Conference on Population and Development, and
        again in 1995, 1999 and 2000,

        most nations agreed that adolescents have a right to information about their
        sexuality. We agreed that programs

        should help build adolescent girls' self-confidence and boys' respect for
        girls' rights. We agreed to develop both

        adolescent- friendly health services and the education and training that
        will give young people hope.

        Today, in Africa and elsewhere, we are far from achieving these goals. Most
        political leaders still view

        adolescent sex as a politically volatile subject to be avoided. Community
        and religious leaders wrongly believe

        that sexuality education promotes promiscuity. Health providers and teachers
        are ill-trained about sexuality and

        ill at ease with it. Parents know little about sexuality, contraception or
        sexually transmitted diseases, and many

        believe that early marriage will "protect" their daughters. They may
        themselves condone or perpetrate sexual

        violence as a legitimate expression of masculinity.

        For the long term, we need to develop H.I.V. vaccines and provide treatment
        to everyone with H.I.V. We need

        to develop protection methods like microbicides that women can use with or
        without a partner's knowledge or

        cooperation. Above all, we must summon the courage to talk frankly and
        constructively about sexuality. We

        must recognize the pressures on our children to have sex that is neither
        safe nor loving. We must provide them

        with information, communications skills and, yes, condoms.

        To change fundamentally how girls and boys learn to relate to each other and
        how men treat girls and women is

        slow, painstaking work. But surely our children's lives are worth the
        effort.

        Pascoal Mocumbi, prime minister of Mozambique and its former minister of
        health, is a physician and a

        board member of the International Women's Health Coalition.







        Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company | Privacy Information


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