Thursday, April 18, 2024

Simple as ABC

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I was called a punk, a freak, a little boy and gay. I was even told that I was afraid of women and I was wasting my youth all because I made a decision that I would abstain from sexual intercourse until I was married.
I received pressure every week for about ten years from peers, friends and even strangers just because I made the decision to wait. If an individual went to the doctor and their pressure was high, the doctor would immediately encourage them to take medication, rest and exercise because pressure has the ability to kill you.  
The pressure I received was intense and consistent and unless I had developed measures to deal with it, I believe I would have given in to it.
There are many things I did to help me reach my goal. The space allotted to this article will not allow me to mention all so I will mention two main ones: 1. I would try my best not to put myself or allow myself to be put into any compromising situations where temptation would be great. 2. I had to change some of my friends and associate myself with a network of people I was accountable to and would encourage me to stick to my goal.
There are three things that people will always find very hard to control: their sex drive, stomach and mouth.
A lack of control of any of the three will have significant consequences and can lead to numerous regrettable experiences. Take a look around you and even within your own lives and I believe you will agree.
The irresponsible use of a penis and a vagina has caused and is causing considerable pain, embarrassment and problems in people’s lives. The lack of exercise and poor eating habits has caused people to develop many health conditions, including diabetes and obesity. Those who have been unsuccessful in controlling their mouths often end up in trouble with the authorities, peers and friends.
I can vividly remember my friends and I being encouraged to engage in sexual activities with females when we were in our teens. Some of those who accepted the encouragement became parents but the older men who had encouraged them did not lend any support afterwards.
I am so happy that I abstained until I was married.
It is one of the greatest decisions I have made and both my wife and I are very pleased we did.
Abstinence is the safest and most reliable contraceptive, yet there is little effort or focus given towards the promotion of it.
Last year I visited the antenatal section in the hospital and on the wall was a poster for different forms of contraceptives. I was so disappointed to see abstinence almost at the bottom of the list. As long as the other barrier and hormonal methods are making money, the abstinence drive will continue to receive little support.
I know we do not live in an ideal world and, as a result, I do not share the view that abstinence should be the only contraceptive used or promoted. I fully endorse the ABC model, which was fiercely promoted by Uganda during their HIV/AIDS crisis. Abstain, Be faithful, Condomize – once adopted – has been proven to work.
I believe that the LiveUP campaign drive is a great idea. My greatest problem and disappointment is that I have never once seen anyone encouraging people, especially the youth, to abstain.
As a youth leader, I have spent plenty time talking with young people and one of the things I have learnt is that some young people, after becoming familiar with their partners, no longer use condoms.
Condoms have a place and so does abstinence. If condoms were the answer, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases should have been controlled but it hasn’t.
I encourage those with the resources and marketing expertise to include abstinence as a credible alternative.
Remember, condoms don’t protect your heart or your soul.
•Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth youth ambassador. Email coreyworrell@gmail.com

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