FIJI CULTURE OF SILENCE CONTRIBUTES TO RISE IN HIV

Editorial

Fiji Times

SUVA, Fiji (Feb. 1) – The link between a rise in HIV cases and lack of communication concerning this highlights a need for the Fiji Government, social stakeholders, families and even the church to implement more awareness.

It's still no surprise to us, when issues concerning HIV are discussed, that the first feedback from elders and family members is that it is a taboo topic that breached many sensitive cultural borders.

People still shield away from discussion, which involves sexual presentations targeted at reproduction, HIV or sex, because their sisters, cousins, nephews and nieces are present.

We are so embroiled in the taboo side of matters that we are blind to the fact that many of our own children are getting pregnant; our teenagers are having sex and risk the chances of getting HIV now more than ever.

This shows ignorance on our part to the real issue, which is plaguing and threatening to shred the very social fabric that once held our society together. Because many people have allowed a gradual waning of social and cultural values, it has been an accepted norm to let our young ones fall into this trap.

Once again our culture of silence has yet again caught us napping.

By accepting and keeping quiet, we are in fact feeding the bait to our vulnerable children who have a maze of information at their doorstep through Internet and television.

No one can deny today that teenage sexual activity is on the rise.

Cultural inhibition and the taboo that restricts open discussion in families or communities on matters pertaining to sex are the disadvantages.

This is the reason why young people are increasingly exposed to dangers of HIV, STDs and teenage pregnancies.

It helps if they are educated early on how they can handle their sexuality and make them fully aware of the risks involved.

There is a lot to be gained from being open and frank. AIDS workers have time and again held educational programs on why we need to talk openly. Knowledge and openness are key factors.

Talk about safer sex - talk about condoms, we have been repeatedly told.

To continually hide behind traditional and cultural morale as an excuse to avoid discussing with each other and especially children what they need to know about their sexuality and HIV is counter-productive.

The onus is on everyone - the parent, teacher, community elder and everyone.

Remember silence is not always golden.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment