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The Impact of AIDS And Adolescent Sexuality Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Mohammad Khairul Alam, Bangladesh Jan 21, 2008
Health   Opinions


The Impact of AIDS And Adolescent Sexuality Bangladesh has a population of nearly 144,319,628(July 2005 est.), approximately 25,000 of whom are living with HIV/AIDS. (although the government confirmed 7,500 people are living with HIV/AIDS). The virus has spread differently in different regions of the country. In the northeastern regions, for example, heterosexual transmission is the norm; in the country’s central-western and capital region, HIV has spread mainly through injection/ intravenous drug use.

In Bangladesh where the traditional background exists, gender discrimination is a common feature, less job opportunitie, economics dependency and abuse of women's rights and illicit trafficking of girls and women are major reasons leading to increasing discrimination against women. Women are disproportionately infected with HIV/AIDS for biological, social and economic reasons. They are sexually mature and active at younger age. In some of the poor countries in world, girls, aged 15 to 19, are infected at rates as much as seven times higher than boys; in some regions, girls are infected at twice the rate. The disproportionate impact is related to widespread sexual abuse and gender discrimination against girls, making it extremely difficult for them to protect themselves. Females are also biologically more vulnerable to HIV/STIs transmission because of the immaturity of their reproductive tracts and the much higher rates of HIV/AIDS transmission from males to females.

AIDS is usually different from most other diseases because it is infected people in the most productive age groups. The effects vary according to the severity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the structure of the national economies. It has the potential to create cruel economic and health impacts in many countries. The economic effects of AIDS will be felt first by individuals and their families, then ripple outwards to the businesses and the economy system.

The face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is changing rapidly across the Asian countries. The number of people living with HIV/AIDS is growing across the region. Most of the people living with HIV/AIDS in the region are under 30 years of age, and an increasing number of them are women. Adolescent Sexuality makes deeper the problem of HIV in the world. About 50% of the population have their first sexual experience before the age of 16, according to the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, which interviewed nearly 19,000 men and women in 1990-91. The most comprehensive sex research ever conducted in Britain, it found that among the younger generation of 16 to 24 year olds, the average age of first sexual experience (not necessarily intercourse) is 13 for men and 14 for women.

The Rainbow Nari O Shishu Kallyan Foundation & L.R.B Foundation jointly survey focuses on the attitude, behavior and practice of commercial & non-commercial / casual sex workers in Bangladesh, this study did point out that almost 16% of sex workers enter the profession before the age of 18 years, and 30% enter between 18 to 24 years of age. Approximately 10% of prostitutes belong to the scheduled castes minority people.

It is very difficult to detect of AIDS impact in every nation. Most studies have found that estimates of the economic impacts are sensitive to assumptions about how AIDS affects savings and investment rates and whether AIDS affects the best-educated employees more than others. Some studies have been able to incorporate the impacts at the household, business and firm level in economic projections. Several researchers believe that the impacts may be small, particularly if there is a plentiful supply of excess labor and worker benefits are small.

Women in Bangladesh are largely getting sexual experience through marriage and for the most part, premarital sexual contact is mostly confined to their future husband or lovers. Nowadays, sexual behaviour among women in Bangladesh is changing. Adolescent girls may not remain in the traditional sexual confinement of the previous generations and casual sex among them is on the rise. This may encourage AIDS to acquire alarming proportions in Bangladesh.



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