Warn youth about HPV - Milford
Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
Executive Director of the Montego Bay-based Pregnancy Resource Centre of Jamaica, and coordinator of the Daughters by Design programme, Christina Milford, has expressed concern that more emphasis is not being placed on raising awareness among the youth about the transmission of the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Milford told The Gleaner that the virus is able to infect areas not covered by condoms, and poses a serious health risk.
"The majority of young people who are sexually active are not aware that 'death is in the pot', meaning that there are sexually transmitted infections like HPV - which can lead to genital warts, cervical and penile cancers, and even death," Milford explained.
relevant social skills
She made the observation following the graduation ceremony of 24 girls from the Daughters by Design Progamme at Tranquillity Villas, Unity Hall in St James, which catered to girls aged 11 to 16 over an eight-week period.
"We are seeking to provide these girls with relevant social skills, biblical-based information and practical tools for personal development," Milford said. "So the main aim is to develop leadership qualities in young girls, while seeking to educate, encourage and empower them to make healthy, lifelong decisions," she added.
The girls were engaged in sessions dealing with manners and protocol, destiny and purpose, character development, true love waits, human trafficking, and beauty, body and soul.
She said the programme is guided by strong biblical principles and incorporates the passion and purity concept of abstinence before marriage.
Milford said over the years, large sums of money had been spent by Government and other agencies to spread messages about sexually transmitted infections. However, she argued that sufficient emphasis has not been placed on HPV, which can be detrimental to the sexual and general health of those persons who are sexually active.
She said through the Daughters by Design Programme, the girls were empowered to make more informed decisions and to remain focused on achieving life goals through positive relationships.
"I felt that I was empowering young women to make decisions to keep them healthy for a lifetime. So it was informative and assisted them in developing life skills and to recognise the power they had to repel strong negative influences from their lives," said Milford.