Child marriage and HIV/AIDS impact on young people

 For quit a long time ,efforts to fight against child marriages have been put in place ,laws have been enacted ,Acts were drafted ,but having done all that ,the world need to come up  with a global  minimum age for  marriage which will act  as an important tool  to help those working to dissuade families and communities from marrying off their daughters at early stages .

this not only help  children to have education opportunities  and  prevent them from sexual exploitation ,but is an important  measure in the fight against HIV/AIDS .

firstly i will look  at the The Probition of Child   Marriage Act (2006),in this act ,UNICEF defines child marriage as marriage before the age of eighteen and the practice is considered  as a violation of human rights .

however with differences in terms of ages of consent amongst  societies ,  it is still a leading factor in  bottlenecking the  total eradication of child marriages .some societies  considers 18 years as the minimum age of marriage ,while  muslims  agree that children under the age of 16 can marry with the permission of Sharia authorities ,according to custom  mainly african ,the minimum age is 15  and yet the Protection of the Rights of the Child discourages marriage before the age of 16. These differences are a clear indicator that there is no consensus from the international world on the  minimum age of  marriage  .

The  Declaration of  the Rights of the Child of 1959 pledges that ” mankind  owes  to the child the best it has to give ”this entails special protection as well as  education opportunities and  facilities .

It then becomes a problematic issue when girls as young as 13-15 are  forced into marriage  losing their education opportunities  and are being exploited sexually  by older men .

This also puts their health at risk as they  cannot negotiate for safer sex  due to their compromising state .HIV/AIDS  prevalence rate is  also considered to be high at the  10-15 followed by 15-24 age  group  and a lot of interventions are being put in place to make sure no one is left behind in the UNAIDS strategy of eradicating AIDS by 2030,but if  societies continue to force their   young girls  into marriage  even eradicating AIDS  will be a  cumbersome task.

There is a low awareness of  Comphrehensive Sex Education among young girls  hence they are also prone to the sexually transmitted infections among them HIV .

the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) makes it an offense to involve children in an activity which impacts negatively on their health  and well being .thus by marrying them early its a clear violation of their rights according to this convention .

It also empasizes the need for the government to protect children from exploitation,thus there is really a dire need for extensive efforts and practical measures by our governments to curb child marriages .

As countries continue to strengthen their  commitment to fight HIV/AIDS epidemic ,i also  think that  the vulnerablity of young women and girls should not only be  explained  in biological  factors ,but  look at the gender iniqualities  that exist  in our societies   which  are acting as the driving force behing child marriage and making it difficult to eradicate HIV.

biological factors be taken into consideration ,it is noted that early child marriage will disrupt the normal sexual life of these young girls as their  genital tracts are immature  and more prone to invasion by HIV  and socially, norms that are rigid even restrict women  from  accessing  medication which further  detriments the lives of these young girls .


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