Teenage Pregnancy and STI infections are not Deliberate Acts

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The author Mohammed Rahina works at Savana Signatures as intern

“How?  No! No! It cannot be. What do I do? I am finished” exclaimed Naasara after visiting a community clinic laboratory. She had complained of severe stooling, fever and general body pains and was encouraged by her mother to see a doctor. Though seeing a doctor was not the best idea, there was no option considering the severity of her condition.

Weeping uncontrollably, Naasara had just realized she did a mistake by having unprotected sexual intercourse on her first date with James, her dream boyfriend.

The medical examination did not only confirm that she was pregnant, it did confirm that she was infected with HIV too. Thinking about stigmatization, neglect and abuses people living with HIV and AIDS suffer in her community Naasara could not hold back her tears after the shocking medical result.

“Oh! James you have ruined my life” she lamented. She said “It was his mistake, I resisted it but he forced me to do it, now what happens to me, my education and my dream of becoming a nurse?”

Naasara who is now living with HIV and AIDS narrates, “I was in a junior high school form two, when James and I felt in love with each other. In fact, James actually was every girls’ dream; he was fair in complexion, intelligent, tall, caring and loving”.

The two could not manage their sexual desires. They were in a relationship for five months. On that faithful day James and Naasara were learning together in the community center when the light went off. They chatted about their education, and marriage. They finally ended up having unprotected sexual intercourse.

“He broke my virginity beside the excruciating pain I endured. As a result, I am pregnant and infected with HIV too”, she said.

“We regretted and prayed for forgiveness. In my heart I knew we had made a mistake but that was too late to complain”. James is an orphan, his mother died from an ailment that turned to be HIV/AIDs when he was young. Both James and his parents lived in a city.  James finally was brought to the village when his father also died. The father is reported to have committed suicide after he realized he was infected with the HIV and AIDS virus too.

“I was always sick afterwards. All these while I have been treating malaria. I  was shocked when I was told of my pregnancy. That is not all, the doctor directed me to see a nurse in another office with a note. There, the nurse asked me, “where is your boyfriend? I will like to see the two of you.” Curiously, I what for? Then, she smiled said to me two of you must be put on drugs immediately. Drugs? I asked again. Yes, your medical report shows that you are not only pregnant you have been infected with HIV and AIDs virus and to prevent the unborn child from being infected you must be put on drug immediately, the nurse explained.

ICT CLINIC (1)“I never thought one could be pregnant for having sexual intercourse only once. I never knew a one-time unprotected sexual intercourse could be dangerous. My mother, on hearing that I was pregnant angrily asked “who is responsible, abi that your sir huh?

When Naasar finally went and broke the bad news to her boyfriend, he did not show remorse neither did he bother to discuss with her how we were going to manage the issue.

All of a sudden he yelled at me “nyezagyalanchemkache ma” (go away with your troubles)  “I am not responsible for your pregnancy”. I wept seriously. When I was about to leave his house, i said to him “thank you for giving me HIV and AIDS too. Thank God we will die together”.

Unfortunately his parents also supported him saying he was not capable of impregnating a girl and that I should not destroy his future. They also threatened me never to mention their son again as the one responsible for my pregnancy.

I have already incurred the wrath of my parents who will not even listen to my story anymore. The news about my pregnancy spread quickly. I was stigmatized and derogated in many forms by my peers.

This, Naasara said forced her out of school. She took the counsel of the nurse seriously. She registered as Persons living with HIV and AIDS.

Well, I could manage to keep the HIV virus from the pubic but I can’t do same to the pregnancy. A friend advised me to take a concoction to flush out the pregnancy because it was still at the early stage. “This nearly killed me. I woke up to find myself at the hospital with my bparents standing beside me. I asked what was doing there and only heard my mother say, thank God”.

Naasara was later told that she lost her pregnancy; however, to save her life, the doctors had to remove her womb. This means that you will not be able to give birth again, her mother reportedly indicated.

She said she was excited to hear that she had lost the pregnancy. However, HIV and AIDS virus and damaged womb still bothered her a lot.

Teenage pregnancy is not a deliberate choice. It comes all of the sudden. It could be through rape or unprotected sexual activities with the opposite sex coupled with lack of access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

The inability of a society to teach young people about SRHR is a major contributory factor to teenage pregnancy and spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the country.

The status quo is broken with the introduction of Sexual Health Education Plus (SHE+) by an NGO in Ghana. Savana Signatures’ SHE+ is currently addressing SRHR information gap while empowering young people to effectively take control of their sexual lives.

SHE+ is a mobile platform that provides the in and out of school youth with adequate knowledge about sexual and reproductive health and right (SRHR) information to help them make informed decisions. The programme teaches prevention and avoidable methods. The platform has two components; SMS and the Interactive Voice Response (IVR). To make it easy and convenient for young people to access SRHR information.

SHE+ provides a mobile short codes 7000 – MTN users and 1904 for Vodafone, Airtel, Expresso users. All one needs to do is text the word SHE (she) to these short codes, and you would immediately receive feedback.

Alternatively, for a more detailed SRHR information and support, young persons can directly interact with health professionals through the following mobile numbers in each of the regions below

Northern Region        –   0233778855

Volta region              –   0233778889

Upper East Region     –   0235778886 (yet to be activated)

Upper West Region    –   0235778855