A Society for Health Education (SHE) research have revealed that 29 percent of people below 18 years of age have sex (ofcourse outside marriage) in Maldives. Among 14 percent of boys and 15 percent of girls of this age group most have sex with more than one person and usually without any safety measures. It also revealed that 99 percent of Maldivians know what AIDS is.
It is true that most people do know AIDS is dangerous, and know much information about AIDS (government have done a good job in this i must say). But still people are not very serious about it.This year in the 60th World Health Assembly, it was passed to grant USD 2.6 Million for the Maldives HIV project from the Global Fund , i wonder how they will spend it.Some 1 million dollar program with the tag line "machaa, vaguthee ufaluge baiveriya AIDS" maybe. i really do think that a lot of effort is needed to make people take this more seriously.Not that they aren't doing anything but it is just not enough and i cant believe them when they say we are safe. More data have to be collected to see the real picture instead of being content with 'only 3 of 3 lakh is positive' thing..
Last month Department of Public Health (DPH) have announced that 13 Maldivians (11 men and 2 women) have carried HIV virus and of them, only 3 are alive now.But how do we know there aren't many more? Probabilities of HIV/AID (and/or other STDs) spreading in Maldives is very high.In a country of 3 lakh with a closely knit society and a giant sexual network, if only 3 of 3 lakh is infected we are nothing but god damn LUCKY! You know, we all are interrelated in one way or another. Lets look in to the possibilities .... with this story (or what ever this is) :
Maldives' sexual network...
Ali Didi is a business man in Male'.He owns two toy shops in Majeedhee magu.This guy who is in his 40's lives in Male' but travels to bangkok frequently, on 'business trips'.On these business trips he spend few days after his work is done just to enjoy.And every night he have an invited guest to sleep with him (sometimes licensed sometime illegal road prostitutes).
Ali Di's brother Ibrahim Didi have recently returned to Maldives after 3 Years working as a seaman (what we call boattudhathurukurun). He really enjoyed it there, especially the sex.At brothels, and even from young prostitutes who come on board when they are at certain ports.Ibrahim Di went to his Island and started a business there, now with Ali Di's help he can stay home with family and work there (thank you Ali Di).
Ibrahim Di's Eldest son Vishah works in a Tourist Resort near the Capital Male', he is now visiting his island.Working in a tourist resort is fun for Vishah.Working in the water sports section; he often creates close relationships with visitors and some staff (foreign and local) too...and ofcourse have great sex. Now that he is in his Island, he needs locals to replace those friends.He have a 'serious girl friend' there. But he also found this lady in her 30's - married to a 50 year old fisherman- very interesting. Vishah now contacts a friend and gives her the message. Well... the next day at dawn just as the fishermen left for work...Vishah goes in to that house...and all the doors were open .... Bang bang! (gud that this time he did not have to go through the window as he does at midnight when he goes in to rooms secretly..in the islands this is called meehunkairiahvanun, a very common thing).
Now, This fisherman husband of the lady... this pervert ...is interested in children.He is able to lure some kidsn his island.But when he is in Male' he always hires drug addict underage girls...and Bang Bang!
and...one of them was aazimaa. She has a boy friend (jawish) who is also a drug addict.But recently she have broken up with him ...after she discovered that she is in a 'serious' relation ship with zaahiya a 13 year old in Ameeniya.And yeah when Jawish's gang have little stuff in store, and cant afford more...sometimes they make 'heroin solution' with lime and any other stuff they like.This solution is mixed and heated on a table spoon and injected...all using the same needle.
Ali Di's wife lives in a small 3 room apartment in Maafannu ,with her children. Zahiya is the youngest of them.Then there is Fathin (the bisexual, who was caught under a staircase in Ameeniya with nasreena - Jawish's new Gf.) and the eldest Rashida.Rashida left to SriLanka for higher education 2 years back. She lives in a two room Apartment with 3 other girls in Lanka. She dont have a serious boy friend now, but some 'friends with benefits'. One of them she met last month from a Disco (it was 'dhivehi ecstasy'..and yeah...ecstasy and other party drugs were used there) organized by the Maldivian students there.His name is Malli...Malli is very special for Rashida, but she don't want to go into a serious relationship...but ehhe..ofcourse... there is Bang Bang!day and night!
NOW , WHAT IF:
Monica with whom Vishah once had sex had HIV.... who and who are at risk? or for example..Malli was infected? or someone else.... How many of them take safety measures? ...i dunno... if vishah gets married to that 'serious' he had at the island. what will happen? ...and make more possibilities for yourself.
condoms?! excuse me...?
There was an increase of condom use rate from 6% in 1999 to 9% in 2004 , but that is only about married people.Data on the high risk groups are not available and i couldn't find any recent data on this.Ive heard this is one of the lowest rates (considering the small population)...when things are like this people still hesitates to buy condoms in Maldives. And i have read this 1992 article (an year after the arrival of HIV to Maldives) on NYtimes ... which says " In the tiny island nation of Maldives, condoms can be sold only to married couples." i dunno how true it is...but still it would be illegal for unmarried people to use it (but now i dont think they ask for that information).whats more... with everything else the condom prices too have hiked up in Male' from Rf.7 to 12 (that's ordinary ones.some even above 15 ive heard).
Talking about Screening
Screening for HIV was initiated in 1991 , but how many Maldivians have been screened so far? I personally know only 2 people.Sometimes when you are away from home for sometime they force you to screen on return.But Sometimes that is. And did you read on a weekly magazine (i think adduvas) about some movie stars screening for HIV? well, Mariyam Nisha was one...i dont remember others, and the news article 'exposing' this seems as is they have done something horrible or something one must never do.But i think they were brave for doing it (bravo mollywood stars..leading by example :p).This shows how HIV screening is viewed in Maldives. It is something like; if you screen for HIV then you are a whore! but now we can screen in secrecy (but what remains a secret in maldives?).
Who and who shall screen?I think every single person should make it their personal responsibility to screen themselves.Is it only whores who can carry HIV? nop. your serious or what ever partner can also carry it.Especially if you know you are not the first one he/she is having sex with.And does registering a relationship in the name of God (a marriage) nullify the possibility of getting infected? Nop, a married person can carry the infection too.When so many people cheating in relationships and marriages should we trust them (risking our lives)? well...i know every one must trust his/her partner.But should the authorities trust?Why don't we make it a rule to screen before marriage....oh.. i dunno about the cost involved.
So... the bottom line is; don't be so assured that you are all safe.Because ...you are not!!!Which ever way you choose to do it, your safety is your responsibility.Safety always comes first!!!