Rivers mothers worried over rising sexual immorality, HIV Prevalence

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By Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi

Some mothers in Rivers State have expressed fear over the reported prevalence of the dreaded Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus (HIV) in the State and nation at large.

They are also worried about the increasing rate of sexual immorality among young girls in recent times, which they fear might expose some of their daughters, who could be having secret affairs, to the danger of contracting HIV.
The women are therefore calling on the state and federal governments to engage in more awareness about the dangers of unprotected sex to save their children.

In a chat with TPCN on Saturday in Port Harcourt, one of the mothers, Mrs Anaye Oguiru, said: “I’m not comfortable at all with what is happening among our young girls. It’s like they enjoy it when men harass them sexually. Most of them are going into prostitution. Each time I pass through any road where there is a brothel, I see young girls advertising their bodies, and I get worried.

“And some who can’t go and stay there do their own secretly. Go to nightclubs, and they’re all there. Some dance naked, and from there, they can enter any available room and have sex. It’s just a common thing to them, and all this is because of money. They don’t even care about HIV, so the disease has not reduced.”

Betty Kalada, a private school teacher and mother of 2, also frowned at the rising trend of sexual immorality among young girls, identifying it as the main factor responsible for the prevalence of HIV/AIDs in the State.

She said: “I watched a programme on TV about World Aids Day, and they said that HIV infection is still high in Africa. And in Nigeria, they said it is higher among girls from 15 to 45 years of age. That thing made me fear catching me because I know that many girls are very loose these days. They don’t even listen to advice, and if you talk to them too much, they will begin to insult you.

“They just want to be free to do what they like, following boys. When I look at these girls and the way they’re living their lives, their type of fashion: dyed hair, multiple earrings, eyelashes, nose rings, tight, short dresses that show their body curves and ankle rings – when I look at them, what comes to my mind is that prostitution has become fashionable.

“That’s the image they’re presenting. And this prostitution is what is contributing to HIV/AIDS, and it’s very unfortunate.”

On what she thinks should be done to correct this social ill and reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, Mrs Kalada said: “First of all, home training is essential. This is where we parents have to wake up. Most of us are not doing our work as parents. We must train and bring up our children in a God-fearing way. We have to start advising our children from when they’re infants so that the training will stick with them.

“Then the schools should also help us by giving them proper orientation. I don’t want to mention the church because the church has failed us. Pastors don’t preach morals anymore, and that’s why these things are happening. Imagine that the number of churches is increasing and at the same time the rate of evil and crime is increasing, which means that the church is contributing to it. When you talk, men of God will defend themselves, saying it’s the end time. Which endtime? Endtime that doesn’t come? The truth is that they’re not doing the right preaching. They’re focusing too much on prosperity, leadership, miracle, motivation, prophecy, seed, tithe, that’s all. No more moral teaching. Why won’t immorality increase?

“But the schools can help us like what Rivers State University did last month when they banned this new immoral fashion by students because they know that it is contributing to rape and sexual immorality. Other institutions should follow their example. The state government can also help.”

While the worry about the prevalence of HIV/AIDS amid the increasing rate of sexual immorality persists, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has advised the people of the State to avail themselves of the available HIV services across the State.
Banigo stated this in her goodwill message to commemorate World AIDS Day, held on December 1 annually.

According to the Deputy Governor, in line with this year’s theme, which is: “Equalize to End AIDS,” implementers in the HIV/AIDS response space should focus on underserved populations like pregnant women, children, adolescents, and key populations and people in correctional centers.

Dr. Banigo, who reiterated the commitment of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike-led Administration to reduce the disease burden of the Rivers people, disclosed that Rivers was among the 7 states that implemented the ADOKIT (Adolescents Kits for Innovation and Expression) project.

She also said only three States – Rivers, Lagos and Anambra – are implementing the new YAaH Naija Project, which stands for Youthful, Alive and Healthy.

According to her, the project uses social media to provide HIV services to adolescents, adding that Rivers State has commenced the Needle and Syringe Programme (NSP) targeting people who inject drugs.

The deputy governor urged all citizens of the State, particularly pregnant women, to take advantage of these services.