Young people; be careful
26 April 2018
Is it not shocking that a young man can have four girlfriends at the same time? Is it not even more shocking that this same young man would go on to have unprotected sex with all four of them, again at the same time.
Now we all know that multiple concurrent partnerships are a serious problem. We all know that as far back as 2009, researches conducted showed that the practice of people sleeping with two or more people at the same time was behind the spike in new HIV infections back then. Back then; when terms such as small house; were coined; it came from the practice of multiple partnerships. We all know that period and what characterized it if we were around by then.
This was because a lot of men in Southern Africa, including Zimbabwe; were found to be engaging in relationships where they would be married and yet be in a long term relationship with another woman.
Most times; these relationships would be long term and would often see children being born and the woman assume an unofficial second wife status where the man would assume all responsibilities of a husband in this home. Others even paid lobola. So condoms were largely not used. But the relationships had their own fair share of drama. In some instances the small house would have another man on the side for when the married man was not available. Or the wife; feeling a bit neglected would also end up finding her own lover. So in actual effect; all these people would all be sleeping with each other.
The results of this behaviour we all saw. HIV infections rose. This trend was observed across the countries where multiple concurrent partnerships were common. This included our own Zimbabwe, Swaziland, South Africa and Lesotho. UNAIDS and other organisations produced extensive information about this trend, which then led to campaigns calling for faithfulness. Remember the ‘One Love’ campaign? Those were the days. Now we have unique issues where husbands and wives have their own side -pieces and these people again all sleep together.
Hence you would assume that young people of today have actually grown up with HIV as a reality. They have seen its devastation and what havoc was caused in their families as a result of such practices.
It was therefore a bit shocking to find out that we have youngsters such as Confidence who actually think it is well and fine to have multiple partners and to sleep with those multiple partners without any form of protection. How does that even make sense? Children as young as Grade Three now know about HIV.
They are taught age appropriate information about it. Some of them when in primary school vow that they will never be friends with anyone of the opposite sex. To their innocent minds; this is the best way of avoiding infection.
As they grow up of course the narrative changes. We have all seen how the girls start noticing boys. Some even fall pregnant while in school. These are the follies of youth. But we worry more about those who then have their whole lives destroyed by mistakes they make. Once pregnant; one’s life changes. Once one becomes a mother; they are a mother indeed. They are never alone again. That is why it is always women who report men for maintenance. That is because a man can walk off but never a mother.
They never go back to how it was before. Plus there is always that danger of falling pregnant to some older man. We all remember reports about students in tertiary institutions who would find themselves going out with older men just so they could make ends meet.
Organisations like Saywhat report on the problems young women faced in certain colleges and universities with some aborting or trying to kill their newborn infants. And of course the untold story of the HIV infections. The National AIDS Council has already indicated to us that young people bear the brunt of new HIV infections. Younger females aged 19 to 24 are the worst affected in these instances. Do we see what this points to? It points to a very worrying trend where younger females are facing increased risk of HIV infections, unplanned pregnancies, cervical cancer, early marriages; among other ills. Their younger partners are often in sexual networks with older men who provide the financial muscle.
That is why the whole Confidence issue got me really worried. When I saw those beautiful young girls and that handsome young man who were all sleeping with each other and exposing each other to all sorts of illnesses; my heart broke. It truly broke. That is really sad. Yes, the violence that took place was bad and should not be tolerated or encouraged. Confidence got beaten by the girls. They literally just circled him and he got beat up. I hear he has reported the case to the police and that is good. Violence should never be tolerated. However that kind of violence where a man can cheat on four women and sleep with all of them should also be frowned upon. What was he thinking? Had he ever gone for an HIV test or asked the girls to go with him? Do these young people know the implications of their actions? To the girls; how could they also just have unprotected sex with this young man? Was he their husband?
Did they know his HIV status? Did they know their own status? What business did they have just sleeping with a guy with no form of protection or contraception especially when they are in college?
Is this what the students are doing in school? If one makes the choice to have sex, surely they should utilize the information and services that are available to protect themselves? Does one just jump in without thinking of their safety? With all the knowledge they get in school surely should they not know better?
I am writing today for other Confidences out there; the truth is HIV is real. As hot as one may be; they will still be exposed if they are not responsible. Sex comes with responsibility. To young women; trust is worth nothing. You can only trust one person in this life and that is you.
God only is the one who looks out for his folk. The rest of the people are human and can disappoint. HIV is a reality hence we all need to be alive to it. I just cannot get over how beautiful those four young girls are. I also noted how handsome Confidence looked. It surely is sad. I just hope young people can exercise a bit of restraint and be more responsible. Otherwise the future looks terrifying.