Not So Secret Lives Of Us: 8th Singapore Aids Conference 2012

Not So Secret Lives Of Us: 8th Singapore Aids Conference 2012

It’s an honour to be invited to host the Health Promotion Board’s “Not So Secret Lives of Us” segment today at the 8th Singapore Aids Conference 2012 here at the Mandarin Orchard Singapore.

From the results of the surveys conducted by the Health Promotion Board (HPB), it was increasingly alarming to learn that more youths are being sexually active at a younger age. The median age of initiation of sexual intercourse was as young as 15 years old.

We can think of many possible reasons to account for these findings. Among them, curiosity among youths no doubt plays a huge part. Changing societal norms, coupled with the sensationalization of sexual deeds and misdeeds in the press too are contributing factors.

Besides targeting youths through school programmes, targeted programmes and peer-led programmes, HPB has also harnessed the use of multimedia, especially the internet.

Started in 2008, the
“Not So Secret Lives of Us” (NSSL) initiative is one of HPB’s continuous efforts to make use of youth-centric social media such as Facebook, banner advertisements and youth bloggers to reach out to youths. This initiative was aimed at provoking readers’ interest and emotions, compelling them to think about their own attitudes towards sex and relationships. Messages on sexuality and HIV/AIDS were woven into the content.

Originally in the form of daily blog updates on the happenings of the lives of four characters, the NSSL has proven to be so popular among youths such that HPB has continued the campaign for two seasons.

This year in its third season, we are delighted to share with our audience what can be considered an industry first – an interactive film reuniting all four characters from the previous two seasons. The four protagonists are on holiday in Thailand in search of a good time in a club. Faced with difficult choices to make such as leaving the club for a quick tryst or staying behind (resisting such temptation), this unique movie experience which was directed by award-winning director Boo Junfeng, allows viewers to make decisions on behalf of the characters, influence the way the story unfolds, and get to see the consequences of their choices.

Having completed my hosting duty and touring the various booths from the various organisations, here are three pointers I would like to impress upon everyone.

First, your life is the sum of your choices. Every choice we make has a direct and indirect consequence. And we have to be responsible for all the choices we make.

Second, abstinence is still the safest and most effective form of protection against STI/HIV and unwanted pregnancies. If you really must engage in sexual activity, please use a condom. Check the expiry date and use a water-based condom to protect yourself.

Third, alcohol and drugs impair our judgment to think rationally. When we cannot think rationally, we are no longer in control of our actions. Under such influence, we may do things which we might regret later as our actions may lead to unwanted consequences.

Let’s make this world a safer and more beautiful place for ourselves and our next generation!