Survey of the Sexual Practices of Youth Attending Evangelical Churches in Antigua, St. Lucia and St. Vincent
Sexual Life
There is general indifference among Evangelical congregations in the Caribbean to the AIDS pandemic. Congregations need to be mobilised to enable congregants to properly guard against the disease, to reduce and eventually remove stigmatisation of and discrimination against persons living with HIV (PLWH), and develop adequate mechanisms that enable Evangelical Christian youth to handle their sexuality within an understanding of Biblical teaching, scientific accuracy and culturally appropriate methods.
As this survey was done among people attending youth programmes in Evangelical churches the basic responses to issues of faith are important. The participants reported:

* 70.2% consider themselves born again.
* 76.1% are members of the church they attend.

The mean for church attendance in the month previous to the survey was 10 times. Participants indicated that 67.6% of them had been asked to have sexual intercourse while 46.7% had been sexually active and 33.5% had had oral sex. Of the female respondents 42.5% have been sexually active while 58.2% of the males were sexually active. The average number of sexual partners for females was four and for males seven. The start of sexual activity peaked between the ages of 15 and 17, which correlates to 16 as the age of consent. An element of coercion in the start of sexual activity was reported by 27.8% of those who had been sexually active – slightly more than one quarter of those who have had sexual intercourse.

Twenty-eight people – 2.8% of the total – stated that they had tested positive for HIV – 14 females, seven males and seven who did not state their gender. Nineteen – 67.8% – of those who say they have tested positive for HIV also state that they are born again and 18 – 64.3% – say they have been received into the membership of the church they attend. Knowledge of how HIV is transmitted among humans was surprisingly deficient. Methods of avoiding the transmission of HIV indicated by respondents were:

* 80.4% abstaining from sexual intercourse.
* 74.5% be tested for HIV and remain faithful to one sexual partner.
* 65.1% always use a condom.
* 64.1% have only one sexual partner.
* 59.7% ensure all injections are done with sterile needles.

This indicates there is an urgent need for education on HIV among youth attending Evangelical churches. Misunderstanding of how HIV is transmitted leaves our youth vulnerable to infection. Lack of knowledge of the disease and how it is transmitted also fuels irrational fear and such fear energises stigmatisation of, and discrimination against, persons living with HIV. None of this is acceptable in a Christian context. Of those who have been sexually active 75.5% report having used a condom during sexual intercourse.
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Posted : 2012-04-15 04:10:00 GMT
Author/Authors : Bishop Gerald A. Seale, DD, General Secretary and CEO Evangelical Association of the Caribbean
Publishers : The Caribbean Youth Network of The Evangelical Association of the Caribbean
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Total Downloads : 2952

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Contact Source Origin : Evangelical Association of the Caribbean