That Scary Truth We Joke About

While browsing my Facebook newsfeed, I stumbled upon an article that a friend recently viewed. The number he quoted on his status bar about the growing ranks of transgender people with HIV caught my attention. You have to agree that 530,000 is a huge number and is quite scary for just one country. Just to make sure if the report was truly accurate, I checked the UN’s recent online data and it was indeed true. There are 530,000 people infected with HIV-AIDS in Thailand and out of curiosity, I decided to check on the Philippines’ number which is 8,700.

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Up until now, I still could not digest this fact and I will admit, I am scared. Whether you are active, inactive, or have never had sex, this is something that we all need to ponder on. HIV-AIDS is not just about your sexual adventures or lack thereof. As we all know, it can be transmitted via specific human body fluids (blood, semen or cum, pre-seminal fluid or pre-cum, breast milk, vaginal fluids, and rectal mucous).

To add more to the anxiety, other body fluids and waste products like feces, nasal fluid, saliva, sweat, tears, urine, or vomit can infect you if they have blood mixed in them and if you have significant or direct contact with them.

AIDS Campaign

Photo credits: Riz

For those who are clueless about how HIV-AIDS is transmitted, I will cite the less obvious means for your benefit. Sexual contact and injection drug use are only the most common but the infection can also happen during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. It can also be a result of occupational exposure, blood transfusion with infected blood or an organ transplant from an infected donor. These information are just a few of the information I got from a very helpful site.

Because I was so affected by what I read, I raised the topic with my co-workers; even my boss had a say on the matter. The time now is different. The generation gap leaped five centuries forward and let’s admit it, the borders of taboo have expanded infinitely. Sex is now easy and the media is the base promulgator of its commonality. Heck, even children are not exceptions. Children as young as 13 in Philadelphia, USA (for example) can now order free condoms via mail in a new campaign launched by the country’s Department of Health to reduce sexually transmitted diseases.

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I have to admit that I was outraged when I read this. Shouldn’t children be playing at that age? What is this telling the youth? Is technology supposed to replace responsible parenting? Call me a prude or your grandma if you like but I do not support campaigns which somehow encouraged young people to experiment sexually at an early age.

You might argue that it’s bound to happen and we might as well help prevent worst things from happening. You may have a point; but although it’s good to brace yourself for the worst, it’s even better to stop it from happening in the first place. Proper school and home guidance always go a long way.

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The fact is, it’s already sad that we can’t control some things from happening but what’s even sadder is not doing the necessary precautions for things that we can fully take control of. Like in this case, instead of leaving your child to fish for knowledge in the internet, why not be the source of this knowledge? Other than sharing the basics, you can also share other personal things that only a parent can impart with his or her child.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully support awareness programs. In fact, this should be everyone’s advocacy. All I am saying is, we should also actively take part in properly educating our youth about sex no matter how inconvenient it will get, instead of just letting the media complete its course. The media is a very powerful tool and if not used properly, can be quite destructive. This is case #1.

Case #2 would point to some adults who leave themselves vulnerable to the disease by not being responsible. For instance, risking not using a condom during intercourse may be a great adrenaline booster but I’m quite certain that it won’t compensate the lows you’ll live with afterwards.

condoms

By the way (just to let you know), the usage of a condom is not an assurance. Even if you use one, there is still a possibility that it may not be secure. Baby, not all breakable things are made of glass. Even rubber breaks.

I am not going to rant about multiple partners and unconventional preferences as I do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Like what I always say, “to each his own” but this I will have to strongly suggest to those who are fond of this high-risk lifestyle – BE RESPONSIBLE. Use contraceptives and undergo regular testing. This advice should not be too offensive. You can have your party and enjoy it but in return you keep yourself and the people around you safe. If by any chance, you suspect that you have been infected, do not hesitate to consult a doctor and run some tests. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. We all have to live with our choices.

For those who are not really into what was mentioned in the previous paragraph, don’t celebrate just yet because you (too) are still at risk. Whether we admit it or not, we never really know who have those preferences unless they admit them. It can be your husband or the guy you’re currently dating. It might also be possible that the person you adore decided to play hooky. So my advice, get yourself checked as well or before you have sex, tell that person to get himself checked. It’s funny and it can be a little bit insulting but trust me, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you do so, you’re not alone. I already have two friends who asked their boyfriends to go for a full medical exam before they actually did it.

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But you know what the best advice I believe is — ABSTAIN. Restrain yourselves from doing it. It’s easy, just move your head side to side and utter the word “no” and then it’s over and done with. Abstain until your prince charming comes crashing through those iron gates. What can I say, I’m a hopeless romantic.

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