RUTSIRO — Parents have been urged to discuss issues of sexuality with their children in order to combat HIV/Aids. Addressing residents of Boneza sector on Wednesday, Jean Pierre Ayingoma, of the National Aids Control Commission [CNLS], said the family should play a leading role in combating HIV transmission.
About 350 residents attended the one-day seminar at Boneza centre, on the role of the family in fighting the virus. They also held discussions on the weaknesses of the family in this campaign.
According to organisers, the family is regarded as the basic unit of society, from where a child’s character is shaped. The discussions resolved around tutoring children about sexuality as a family.
“By the time children reach primary five, they are already aware of most things related to sex,” said Ayingoma.
“It’s our responsibility as family to teach them about sex and its outcomes,” he continued.
Ayingoma, the Aids social coordinator, dismissed as baseless the illusion that when children learn about sex at a tender age, they end up practicing it out of curiosity.
Teenage girls are duped that sex is vital to enlarge their body parts like their breasts and bums, while the boys think sex can make their private parts develop, he observed. Safe sex is regarded the best option for teenagers who can’t withhold, he said.
“Train your children as a family to use condoms incase they can’t abstain, it’s for the good of their lives,” said Ayingoma. Expectant mothers were urged to test for HIV in order to produce healthy babies.
“Its genocide as well to infect your own child yet HIV/Aids test is free. Also being unfaithful and having unprotected sex is suicide,” said Ayingoma.
Families were also urged to protect, comfort and guide members living with the virus. HIV-infected people were advised to take antiretroviral drugs, to prolong their survival.
“Don’t lose hope in life, with ARVS you stand a chance of living 20 more years, during which one can accomplish numerous plans,” said John Ndimubahire, the district mayor.
During the same occasion, Antoinette Mukakayumba, 57, a resident of Mugonero in Karongi district, testified that she has lived with the virus for the last 15 years, and her family has physically and psychologically given her the audacity to live on.
“My last born is in senior two, yet at a certain point I thought I wouldn’t live to watch him grow,” said Mukakayumba.
According to CNLS, at least 30 percent of people on ARVs in the country are children, an indication that ‘families take less responsibly of the children.’ Spouses were also urged to offer equal attention to all members of the family especially during challenging times.