“Nuh Guh Deh!” Sex with young girls fuelling HIV infections in Jamaica

Readers, friends, journalists, fellow-bloggers, supporters and anyone working in this field or who is interested in learning more and getting involved, PLEASE JOIN US TOMORROW (Tuesday, November 26, 2013) at 10:00 a.m. at the offices of Eve for Life, 1A Richmond Park Avenue, Kingston 10 (near the Transport Authority offices). Eve for Life will launch its campaign aimed at sensitizing the public about the ills of  cross-generational sex, including transactional sex and forced sex with young girls aged 10 to 19 years old that is posing serious challenges to the HIV response in Jamaica.

Participants will include: Deidre Kiernan, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Jamaica; Greig Smith, Registrar, Office of the Children’s Registry; Sannia Sutherland, Acting Executive Director, National Family Planning Board; St. Rachel Ustanny, Family Planning Association of Jamaica; Randy McLaren, Word Activist; and the band Nomaddz.

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Please see Eve for Life’s press release below. Please share widely and let your friends and contacts know. Looking forward to a vibrant morning with you tomorrow!

Cross generational sex, including transactional sex and forced sex with young girls aged 10 to 19 years old is posing serious challenges to the HIV response in Jamaica.

Sex with young girls has over the years become the norm and is the subject of many popular songs. It is widely practiced in many communities regardless of economic  status. A ground breaking study done by Family Health International’s (FHI) 360 Communication for Change project in Jamaica entitled “Cross-Generational Relationships: Perceived Norms and Practices in Jamaica”, noted that cross generational sex contributes greatly to HIV prevalence and has become a norm. The participants in the study indicated that cross-generational relationships were common and persons were generally indifferent to these relationships or approved of them for the material gain they offered. The study further noted that young girls got involved in cross-generational relationships primarily for emotional/security support. Other reasons were sexual gratification and financial gain. On the other hand, the primary motivation for males was sexual gratification. The study also pointed to the fact that many of the persons involved in cross-generational sex also had multiple, concurrent sexual relationships.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health also show that transactional sex is increasing. Forty-three per cent of persons 15-24 years reported being involved in the activity in 2012, up from thirty-nine per cent in 2008. Additionally, at least twenty per cent of young girls report that their first sexual encounter was forced.

A key underlined factor in all the above is that young girls are becoming engaged in sex from an early age thus increasing their vulnerability to HIV and early pregnancy; they are unable to insist on condom use or to refuse sex. Eighteen per cent of pregnancies now occur among teenagers up to nineteen years old. HIV infection is three times higher among young girls aged 10 to 19 years old than among young boys the same age.

As a result of the foregoing, EVE For Life is launching a community chat entitled “Nuh Guh Deh!!”. This community chat will take place between November 29 and December  5, 2013 in three major town centres (Half Way Tree, Ocho Rios and Sam Sharpe Square -Montego Bay) and one inner city community in Kingston. These community chats will prelude an island wide campaign to be launched under the same name.

The “Nuh Guh Deh”, campaign complements EVE For Life’s current initiatives among HIV adolescents and young mothers aged 14 -24 years old, funded by World Learning and UNICEF;  and an awareness raising intervention around Gender Based Violence and young girls funded by the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund and the British High Commission.

For more details, please contact: Patricia Watson. Tel: 754-3954

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5 Comments

  1. Pingback: Nuh Guh Deh: “Let us seek justice for our young girls” | Petchary's Blog

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