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Teenagers and HIV virus – Ciscasquapro

The rise of teenage pregnancy has exposed the adolescent children to not only coronavirus but also HIV. The teenagers’ relationships have lured them to partying without adhering to morals and values of the society. The Unicef kenya had this to say:

COVID-19 puts adolescents at greater risk of acquiring or spreading HIV.

By Maniza Zaman, UNICEF Representative to Kenya, and UNAIDS Country Director Medhin Tsehaiu

Fishing in Homa Bay County

UNICEFKenya/AndrewBrown29 November 2020

This article first appeared in The Nation on November 29, 2020.

For young people in Kenya, the risks of COVID-19 stretch way beyond the effects of the virus itself. We believe that COVID-19 and the containment measures could be contributing to new spikes in adolescent HIV as evidenced by reduced access to essential HIV prevention services and along with other unintended consequences such as unintended pregnancy and sexual and gender-based violence.

With schools fully or partially closed, many children have been away from the protective environment of school for months. Families are facing financial hardship, food insecurity, stress and uncertainty. This creates the conditions for an increase in abuse, sexual violence in homes and communities and in transactional sex, which can lead to an increase in sexually transmitted infections including HIV and unintended pregnancies among adolescents. We can already see early signs of this – national helplines have reported a tenfold increase in reports on violence against girls and women since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. A third of all crimes reported in the first month after the COVID-19 outbreak in Kenya were related to sexual violence.

UNICEF and UNAIDS are particularly concerned about the most vulnerable children in areas of Kenya that already have the highest rates of HIV. For example, in Homa Bay County, youth aged 15-24 contribute 13 per cent of the total number of HIV infections amongst 15-49-year olds in the County. The picture in other counties in the western and lake basin region is similar.

The consequences of a further rise in HIV could be wide-ranging. As well as causing serious health problems, HIV can lead to devastating emotional issues due to stigma and discrimination. And in a vicious circle, while COVID-19 puts adolescents at greater risk of acquiring or spreading HIV, people living with HIV are also at greater risk of severe COVID-19 infections that can lead to death, especially those who do not take medication regularly.

As the global AIDS epidemic continues, we need to act. Homa Bay County Government has commissioned research, carried out by LVCT Health and the Overseas Development Institute supported by UNICEF, to analyse the root causes of adolescent HIV, as well as teenage pregnancies. The findings of ‘Unintended pregnancies and HIV among adolescents and young people: A situation analysis of Homa Bay’, offer important local, regional and country-wide lessons.

Firstly, gender inequality is a major driver of HIV infections in adolescents. Girls often have little control in relationships or in the use of condoms and other forms of contraception. They may conduct transactional sex to secure food for their families. The report also highlights limited access to adolescent HIV services and inadequate quality comprehensive sexuality education in schools. Lastly, the report finds that vulnerable young people get caught up in risky behaviours and cultural practices such as ‘disco matanga’, that put them at risk of sexual exploitation, abuse and of acquiring HIV.

At this critical time, we must move quickly to address these issues in Homa Bay and nationwide. We need to see improved and budgeted programming, focusing on addressing harmful gender norms, as well as find channels to provide culturally and age-appropriate sexual reproductive health education for those in school and out-of-school. Increased support and training opportunities are also needed to give vulnerable girls alternatives to avoid early pregnancy and early marriage. And sensitization and positive engagement of their peers, the young boys, is also key to address the situation.

Finally, the health system can do more to be responsive to adolescents and young people through the provision of comprehensive services both at facility and community level. In sum, a multifaceted approach that stays true to the right to information and voice, tailored quality services and innovative social safety nets will be key in supporting vulnerable young women. 

Extraordinary change is possible when we work together. Since 2013, there has been a 66 per cent reduction in the rate of new HIV infections among 10 to 19-year-olds in Kenya, as the country followed an ambitious path to reduce new HIV infections to zero by 2030. During this period, Kenya has also led Africa in the rollout of pre-exposure prophylaxis, HIV self-testing and voluntary male medical circumcision.

Young people also need hope and opportunities to create a better future. This is why the UN is investing in expanding horizons for young people, as a key partner with the Government in the Generation Unlimited partnership. Through a multitude of programmes, the partnership aims to expand opportunities in education, training and employment for the young people in Kenya.

As part of the UN family in Kenya, UNICEF and UNAIDS will continue to work with the Government, partners and importantly adolescents themselves to accelerate steps and innovate to reduce HIV rates amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kenya’s adolescents are a vital national resource. Yet they currently face multiple threats to their health and wellbeing. Let us join hands in a deliberate effort to listen, understand and engage adolescents and young people in propelling a youth-centred response that offers them the best chance in life.

By Maniza Zaman, UNICEF Representative to Kenya, and UNAIDS Country Director Medhin Tsehaiu

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Single mother’s relationship – Ciscasquapro

From a concerned parent:

I am a single mother of three children. First born is 19 years, second born 16 years and the only girl, last born is 12 years. I have raised them all by myself. I have a job and so I am able to meet their needs.

A year ago I met a man in my life whom I feel it’s more than a friendship. He is a widower with two children who are above 20years and we are planning to move together as a husband and a wife. My worry is my children who are teenagers. I don’t know how to approach them. I fear their reaction.

I feel I need someone to love me as a husband but I am worried on the reaction of my kids. How will I tell them that we will be moving in with a man who will be their dad? Moving from my house to the man’s house and stay as a family? If you come across this lines, kindly advise.

Yours concerned mother

Have you ever experienced such a scenario? Or if it were you what could you have done? Let’s help the worried mother through the chat.

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How good do you know your child? – Ciscasquapro

Have you ever been tricked by your own child? How did you feel after you realized what had happened? How did you react?

The busy schedule of parents Sometimes makes it impossible to have ample time with their children. Understanding them becomes a bit difficult because they will play angels when the parents are around and something different when parents are away. At the back of parents’ minds, what they have is a good boy or a girl who adheres to the instructions given not until the reality dawns on to them.

This reminds me on an incident that happened at school when my daughter was in grade three. I had gone to pick her report form and what the teacher told me left me surprised.

My girl had always been a quiet child with less to talk about. She used most of her time watching cartoons. She wasn’t a child one would keep scolding. She was very careful on making sure she didn’t do anything that would make me unhappy.

The teacher had this to say:

Your daughter has done very well, but I have one thing to accuse her of. She is the best noise maker in class. First she makes sure she has finished her work, then goes on disturbing others. Every teacher is complaining

I looked at her suspeciously. Her innocent looking made me to question the teacher’s remarks. I wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth. True to the accusations, she testified that after playing a bad girl at school, she becomes too tied and that makes her to be cool when at home.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. From that day I promised myself never again judge the book by it’s cover.

Have you ever been in a such scenario where you think your child is what he or she is not?

A certain lady was told by her neighbours that her teenage girl had been seen with suspecious company when the parents were away. She was very mad on it and told her neighbours to leave her girl alone and they were just jealous of her.

After two weeks, the lady received an anonymous call informing her that her girl had been arrested for gun trafficking and she should go to the police station.

Afterwards, the girl took the police to their house where she was hiding the guns. Seeing this, the mother fainted and was rushed to the hospital.

What should we do as parents when we hear these allegations?

My opinion…..listen carefully to what is being said. Before you act, come up with your own ways to investigate what you have been told. If the child is smarter, involve your close friends and her peers secretly just to get to know the reality. This will give you a chance to study every move your child is undertaking. Be calm to both the child and whoever gave you the news.

With this, you will be able to get to the root of the matter and henceforth deal with it as required.

Though people can be malicious sometimes, never ignore before you get to know what is happening. Let not your love to the child blindfold you not to see the reality.

More on children discipline and on teenage relationship is discussed here.

I would love to hear how you solved the problem or how you can do it incase such scenario crosses your path… comment.

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How to deal with a teenage boy’s behaviour – Ciscasquapro

As I mentioned in the previous post on raising a teenage boy it is not as easy because this is the time when the boys feel they have become men. The recent incident on the teenage boy who stole his father’s car and caused a fatal accident is only a few of example s to show that boys can go any extent at this age. Below are a few keys to look into when dealing with These teenage boys. Also see on how to discipline the children. If you missed the post on teenagers and Relationship, you may want to see it here

Five Keys for Dealing with Teenage Boy Behavior:

  • Set limits. First, parents and teen boys agree to set rules that both agree on. The rules are based on shared values about staying safe and keeping harmony in the family.
  • Write it down. Furthermore, families might consider drafting a written agreement. Therefore, the guidelines and boundaries are clear to everyone.
  • Agree on consequences. Next, parents and sons agree on age-appropriate consequences that will go into effect if the rules are broken. For example, a consequence might be loss of car privileges or an earlier curfew. Moreover, the consequence should be age-appropriate.
  • Invoke restitution. In addition, parents and teen boys can use a consequence known as restitution or restoration. Hence, teens help make a situation better after violating the shared contract. For example, if they get a speeding ticket, they pay it on their own. Or they take steps to repair a relationship with a sibling after a fight. As a result, a teen can earn back parents’ trust.
  • Avoid severe punishment. However, severe punishment is not the best approach for dealing with your teenage son. In fact, punishment can make things worse. Teenage boys may feel rejected and resentful. Hence, they may withdraw further from their parents.

See more of my posts. You may drop your comment and like. More so, kindly share with those whom you love.

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Rise of Teenage Pregnancies in kenya – Ciscasquapro

It has been a cry from most of the parents since the arrival of coronavirus pandemic. Being away from school for a longer period, it has inculcated to change of behaviour to some of the teenagers. The rising of teenage pregnancies in kenya is shocking with some of the regions recording very high numbers of adolescence pregnancies. You can also see why children are not safe

Just recently, the president ordered all Chiefs to take good care of teenagers within their jurisdiction or else they will be answerable if there are any reports of teenage pregnancies within their area.

This children are still young and their pregnancies may come with a lot of impact in their lives. One, their bodies are not fully developed to tackle challenges that comes with pregnancy. Secondly, the stigma they experience from peers and others may cause a lot of emotional harm leading to stress and thereafter depression.

These girls still have a future to take care of and adding a burden to their early age may shutter their dreams. It is unfortunate that some of this teenage pregnancies are brought about by well known relatives. This makes it difficult for the implementation of the law as the culprits are protected by the family norms. Others threaten the child and instil fear such that she won’t disclose the incident until when it is too late.

The stay – at – home directive has been a monster to the lives of many teenagers who are taking a lot of their time exploring the internet stuff. As they engage in online learning, they come across harmful information. At their age, they are ready to experiment anything. A scenario of the boy who impregnated his two sisters was too much for the mother to handle. It becomes hard dealing with some issues on teenage pregnancies as most of these issues are family related and so they are covered up.

The big question is, WHO IS TO BLAME? The society/community, the family, the parents or the children? Let us discuss it and try to reach to a conclusion. The chat is open. Leave a reply as you comment. As we try to stay safe from the virus, the girl child may not be safe! Stay put..get more insights here ….oooh..remember to follow me. I will make sure not to disappoint!