Articles Comments

» BREAKING NEWS, Featured » “THE JAMAICA AIDS SUPPORT FOR LIFE” WANTS SWIFT PROVISIONS TO ALLOW TREATMENT OF MINORS WITH SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES!

“THE JAMAICA AIDS SUPPORT FOR LIFE” WANTS SWIFT PROVISIONS TO ALLOW TREATMENT OF MINORS WITH SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES!

By Syranno Baines

 

With children as young as 11 years old presenting symptoms of sexually transmitted infections at their clinics every month, Jamaica Aids Support for Life (JASL) is cautioning that the HIV/STI epidemic will become more widespread if the law continues to prohibit the treatment of minors under 16 without parental permission.

Section 6 of the Child Care and Protection Act (CCPA) requires that the authorities be called in when minors visit health facilities to for medical treatment.

Kandasi Levermore

Kandasi Levermore

The legislation mandates JASL to report on the basis that the child is either being abused or in need of care and protection.

In conjunction, Section 8 of the Law Reform Age of Majority Act states that only a child who has attained the age of 16 can consent to any medical treatment, otherwise, consent must be given by a parent or legal guardian.

“In most cases, the children are sexually active and the parents aren’t aware. So the minute you bring up anything parental, they leave, and we’re sure they’re not coming back,” declared Policy and Advocacy Officer for JASL Patrick Lalor during a Gleaner Editors’ Forum held yesterday at the newspaper’s North Street, Kingston, offices yesterday.

“What we don’t want to do is turn away any child and allow that child to go out with STIs and continue in any abusive situation because legislation prohibits us from intervening and time does not allow for us to get the authorities involved,” he said.

Garth Minott

Garth Minott

“We don’t have the power to detain them, so we cannot stop them from leaving once we insist on involving the parent.”

Lalor listed gonorrhoea, syphilis, and chlamydia as the most common STIs for which children seek treatment.

In substantiating Lalor’s claims, JASL Executive Director Kandasi Levermore reasoned that the Knowledge, Attitude, Practice, and Behaviour Survey conducted by the Ministry of Health showed that the age of initiation (into sexual activity) is lower than the age of consent.

“The average age of initiation for boys is 14 years old and for girls, it’s 15 years old, and remember, that’s an average. So, that is saying that you have children that are much younger than that engaging in sexual activity for it to be an average of 14 and 15 for the sexes,” Levermore said.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com

Written by

Filed under: BREAKING NEWS, Featured

%d bloggers like this: