Young enough to have sex but not do HIV test?
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Is it only me, or is it absurd for the age of consent and the age for a minor to be tested for HIV/AIDS to be at variance? How can a country stipulate its age of consent to be 16? Let's give the benefit of the doubt that a 16-year-old is capable of knowing right from wrong, able to say yes or no, or just know what they want from what they do not need. Can they know their status?
December 1 is celebrated worldwide as World AIDS Day, where we try to encourage persons to get tested and to know their status. However, even though legally allowed to have sex, minors cannot be legally tested without parental consent. Why? Because the legal age for individuals to be tested is age 18. This leaves a gap of two years of uncertainty, as while they are legally allowed to perform the sexual act, they may either not have the parental consent or just do not wish their parent/guardian to be aware that they are sexually active. No parent would feel proud.
This being said, how hard is it to be logical and move the age of consent from 16 to 18. Sign the necessary document to make it a bill, then enact a law to make it official. To perform other legal acts, you are required to be 18 years old. Why not sex?
Are we as a country encouraging early possibility of pregnancy BEFORE being legally able to make decisions? Are we dooming minors, for two years, to the uncertainty of having HIV/AIDS, but not being able to become aware of their status?
Will we sit and allow this to continue? Or will we act as an educated people seeking a brighter future for our country?
Old Harbour, St Catherine