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'Nuh guh deh' - Campaign targets teenagers involved in risky sexual behaviour and adults who prey on the youths

Published:Sunday | December 1, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Eve for Life executive director Patricia Watson (left) and Joy Crawford, director of programmes and training at Eve for Life addressing at risk teenagers recently. - Jermaine Barnaby/Photographerof the Eve for Life initiative.

Healthy and wholesome sexual behaviour among teenagers — the most vulnerable group of individuals globally at risk of contracting and spreading HIV — is not being celebrated enough.

That is according to Joy Crawford, director of programmes and training at Eve for Life, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation which provides support and advocacy for teenage mothers living with HIV/AIDS.

"Who are the individuals being used to talk the most at-risk groups? Why isn't anyone bigging up abstinence? There are teenagers who are not having sex and who are not interested in having sex, because they are focused on other things," Crawford told The Sunday Gleaner.

Joined by Eve for Life Executive Director Patricia Watson, Crawford pointed to the several sad stories of teenage children living with HIV/AIDS.

Eve launches Campaign

According to Watson, the situation among the teenagers is so dire that Eve for Life has launched a 'Nuh Guh Deh' campaign which is aimed specifically at older men who target young girls for sex, and teenagers who engage in risky sexual behaviours.

Adolescents pregnancy in the 15-19 age group, according to Ministry of Health statistics, contributes to 15 per cent of the total fertility rate among women in Jamaica.

Local hospitals are also recording children as young as 11 becoming mothers through early sexual initiation or forced sex.

As a result, Crawford said, in addition to sex education in schools, Eve for Life begins its interface with girls as young as nine years old in its junior support programme.

However, that programme has been hit by funding issues and has been suspended. For Crawford, a change can't come quickly enough with the message and messengers.

She said teenagers across the globe have many things in common, and with the rise in the mass media, policymakers need to use the personnel and technologies available to get the message to the youngsters.

Crawford argued that there is still much discomfort in talking about sex, and in particular the vagina.

She said part of Eve for Life's responsibility is to begin and lead the "vagina talk".