Saturday, 15 August 2009

Getting Down And Dirty In The Park...Despite The Threat Of STDs.

Yesterday afternoon at about 12:30 pm, I decided to take a short and casual but usual walk round the Aylesbury Estate side of the Burgess Park in Walworth, South East London. Actually, I live in Aylesbury Estate and Burgess Park being the nearest park, it is only normal that it is my number one choice out of many parks in London.

I do this almost every week particularly in the afternoon or very late in the night. If I decide to do that in the afternoon, it means am off work and staying at home could be so boring, therefore the next alternative becomes either the park or the local East Street Library. If am doing it in the night, it could be because am feeling lonely, bored or unable to go to bed and therefore going round the whole Aylesbury Estate part of the park would be enough to induce me to sleep. I do this with my bicycle sometimes. Just lollygagging and nothing more.

However this particular afternoon, I decided to take a walk in the park because during that time of the day, it was very hot and leaving on the eighth floor of a 12 floor building could be suicidal during the London hot summer. To escape from this hell, the park becomes the only available alternative and solution. Meanwhile going to the park by this time of the day could be interesting for two main reasons. First is that you do not usually get too many people in the park at this time of the day therefore giving you the ample opportunity for reflection, meditation, solitude and quietness the South East of London rarely offers.

The second reason for choosing this time of the day is because despite the scorching weather, the trees and green grasses in the park could offer one a very comfortable shelter and space to cool off. The beautiful breeze caressing ones senses there could be a luxury elsewhere while the songs of the birds and sight of people and cars moving up and down could be a welcomed distraction. These are major reasons I love taking advantage of the Burgess Park by that time of the day.

However, this particular afternoon while in the park, I was confronted with a sight and a scene I least expected. The Burgess Park is not a well developed and advanced park like other parks in London. It lacks many facilities other parks in London take for granted. It is because of this reason that the Southwark Council where the park is situated has committed about Four Million pounds to develop the park to become one of the best in London. This is what is written on the construction sign in front of the Walworth Road entrance into the park. What and how they intend to achieve that status is a mystery am yet to decipher.

The park has not toilet or urinary facilities and because of that the nearest bush or shade becomes a spur-of-the-moment urinary. And so, as I was walking in the park and had this call of the nature, the nearest instinct was to go into one of the nearby bushes before my bladder is blasted like a time bomb. That was exactly what I did, however something else happened there that gave me a terrible shock. Shock in the sense that I least expected what I saw there to take place at that time of the day in that part of the park.

As I was holding my dick and freely discharging the urine with that beautiful sensation that comes with it when you have reached that point of ‘trying-to-boast’, I looked up and to my greatest surprise, I was flabbergasted to see a young girl of about 18 to 21 years leaning forward with her waist pushed backward and staring me in the face and in fact all over me including my dick. I was filled with shame but she kept staring at me and moaning like a woman in child birth. At that point in time, there is no way I could stop the urine because it will never stop. It has reached the point of no return.

When I tried to find out the reason she was moaning-because I thought she was in pains-I saw another person, a young man of between 22 to 25 years holding her waist down and thrusting in and out his hard erected dick in the girls pussy. My natural instinct was to shout, ‘Holy Moses why here!’ But they felt unperturbed and carried on with their business. In fact from the words written all over her face, I could frankly decipher her telling me not to worry because she is used to that and that am free to have my own share of the national cake if I care.

The narration of what happened in the park maybe funny but I do not see it from that angle. Having sex in the park is not a shock to me. I am aware that such things happen and are legal in some parks. Also there are some people who derive sexual pleasure from being watched when they are having sex and others who get very high having theirs in the public. That is actually what is called dogging in English language.

In fact the only thing that bothered me was the quantity of sexually transmitted diseases they must have passed on to each other and to many others because obviously the young girl was not the first victim of the young man and that was not obviously the first time of the girl. For her to have the gut and courage to do such a thing in the park under the broad day light at that tender age, she must have done it many times before.

The last straw that broke the Carmel’s back was that they were busy thrusting in and out without condom. I saw it and I felt like to throw away and die. I am yet to understand that two young blacks living in a very metropolitan city like London are so ignorant of STDs that they do not know the value of using condom for sex. Also bearing in mind the recent report that London has become the HIV capital of Europe with blacks bearing the highest burden this ugly sight becomes more worrisome and unbearable.

An estimated 77,400 people are living with HIV in the UK out of whom more than a quarter (28%) are unaware of their infection. Almost a third of people are diagnosed late, meaning they are missing the benefits of early treatment.

In the year 2008 alone, there were at least 7,370 new diagnoses of HIV. This contributed to a whooping cumulative total of 102,333 reported by the end of 2008. There have been 25,171 diagnoses of AIDS in the UK. At least 18,560 people diagnosed with HIV have died. About 80% of these deaths followed an AIDS diagnosis. The Terrence Higgins Trust estimates that at least 400,000 people could have HIV by 2032 if current trends continue.

When the tests for HIV antibodies became widely available in the mid 1980s, three main groups were identified as very vulnerable to the virus. These were men who have sex with men, injecting drug users and people who have received treatment with blood products. Many of these people came forward for testing in the mid 1980s, after which there was a decline in the annual number of HIV diagnoses. This trend was reversed towards the end of the decade and there were between 2,500 and 2,800 diagnoses each year from 1990 to 1997.

Between 1999 and 2003 there was a sharp increase in the number of HIV diagnoses. During 2008, reports show that at least 7,370 people were diagnosed with HIV in the UK. This number is expected to rise as further reports are received. The major component of the rapid increase in recent years has been in heterosexually acquired infections. Although around 80% of these are contracted in countries with high HIV prevalence, infections acquired within the UK have also risen. Another significant factor in recent increases has been the introduction of clinician reporting, which was only introduced for HIV diagnoses made after the beginning of 2000.

People of African ethnicity, particularly individuals born in sub-Saharan Africa are more likely to be diagnosed with the virus. They also bear the highest brunt of the heterosexual HIV epidemic in the UK. Despite accounting for less than 1% of the UK population, black Africans made up almost half of all new HIV diagnoses in the UK in 2006.

Although Africans living with HIV in the UK may benefit from access to HIV related healthcare, as a group they also face significant challenges. People living with HIV in the African community often experience stigma and discrimination in relation to their HIV status which is already compounded by daily hardships connected to migration including issues associated with immigration status, employment, housing and living conditions.

Approximately 0.2% of the UK population are infected with HIV. Amongst Africans in the UK, HIV prevalence is much higher at 3%. Migration from areas of high HIV prevalence largely accounts for this disparity. In the UK the heterosexual HIV epidemic is intimately linked to that in sub-Saharan Africa. The vast majority (84%) of Africans living with HIV in the UK were infected in Africa. There were an estimated 24,800 persons born in sub-Saharan Africa who were living with HIV in the UK in 2006. Out of this figure, an estimated 36% of men and 23% of women were unaware of their infection.

This is not to say that the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the UK is exclusively bound to the generalised epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, but it does largely account for the high prevalence of HIV in African communities in the UK relative to the rest of the population.

Against this backdrop then, one begins to wonder what young people of this generation think of themselves. It seems they think they are immuned against sexually transmitted diseases or that stories behind the STDs including HIV and AIDS are just farce despite all the educational advertisements and commercials focused on them. The problem is becoming hydra-headed. The more the safe-sex messages are dished out using every available means of information, communication and education, the more young people have sex wantonly anywhere and anytime as if they are chewing gum and the fact that they do it without condom poses a very big question to the viability of all awareness geared towards them.

The devastating effect of sexually transmitted diseases especially HIV and AIDS on young people is catastrophic and overwhelming, yet majority of the young people are unaware of what HIV, AIDS and STDs are or even how to contract or prevent them.

A recent report by AIESEC noted with disappointment that half the world's teenagers admit to being dangerously ignorant about HIV risks. Same study also claimed that many do not use condoms. One in three youngsters apparently does not believe using protection stops the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The scale of the youth ignorance follows the revelation that half of the world's new HIV infections are among 15 to 24 year-olds.

According to AIESEC, the least knowledge seems to be in south-east Asia, where 57 per cent of youngsters admit knowing little about HIV or Aids. In contrast, 74.3 per cent of young Africans believe themselves to be well-informed, despite sub-Saharan Africa having the world's highest AIDS rate. The research, involving 1,566 young people from 99 countries, was carried out by AIESEC International and Standard Chartered, which has an anti-Aids service.

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