Every minute five new AIDS diagnoses are made in the world, and close to half of them are young people between the ages of 15 to 24 years. Further, the ratio of the number of girls with AIDS is twice as much compared to boys. Exposure of youngsters to sexual content and unprotected sex has been cited as key reasons for these escalating figures. Supporting this trend is the statistic of 82% teenage boys and 48% girls having access to pornographic content on a regular basis. Therefore, this should make more numbers of boys as victims of AIDS, but this is not the case. If unprotected sex were the reason, equal number of boys and girls should be affected by AIDS.
What does this mean? We need to scratch the surface to get at the actual reason why more girls are diagnosed with AIDS. Could it have something to do with the way girls are raised?
Many women are unable to say a firm ‘no’ to unprotected sex. Brought up in a patriarchal system and taught to revere men and submit to their wishes without a second thought, has perhaps landed many girls right in the jaws of death.
Double standard against women is a form of gender violence. Though youngsters must be taught about safe sex and the risks of AIDS, the crux of anti-AIDS initiatives must empower women to have a right over their own bodies. Rooting out double standards against women especially in sexual relationships may be the way to go to realize anti-AIDS objectives.