Last week, we asked youths to discuss their emotions related to discussing sex and HIV with their parents. We asked them to role play how they expect caregivers to react when they ask questions about these topics.
Here are 3 of the scenarios they wrote and acted out in their youth support groups (with youth acting out the parts of both the youths and caregivers).
#1 – “What is sex?”
Youth: What is sex?
Father: You cannot talk about that. I refuse to listen to this.
Child: I was playing at the lake and I heard people discussing this thing, and I didn’t understand.
Mother: You must be going with men. Maybe you are already even infected with a disease and that is why your hair is falling out.
#2 – “What is a condom?”
Girl: What is a condom?
Father [yelling]: Where did you hear that word?
Girl: From other kids at school
Mother: You are asking that because you are already knowing men. That is why you know words like that. You have already started sex – I can see it in your eyes.
#3 – “I shared a razor…”
Girl: I used a razor and then gave it to my boyfriend for him to use. If I have HIV, will he now get it also?
Mother: Where did you get money to buy a razor?!
Father: To get that razor, you must have gone out doing some bad things [transactional sex] to get money from some man.
|Role Play in Girls' Support Group(Girl on Right is playing the father, girl in Middle is playing the mother, girl on Left is playing the child); Photo posted with permission from youths and their caregivers|
Throughout the role-plays, the main theme was fear that parents will suspect them of having sex if they initiate discussions related to sex or HIV. This coming week, we will ask families to discuss the youths’ fears together, along with the fears and hesitations of the caregivers (e.g., feeling embarrassed or afraid when talking with youths about these things).