“When I got the numbers — 3,000 young people under 25 being affected daily — I would never have thought that would be the statistic,” says Solange Knowles about HIV/AIDS-related unprotected sex.
The young singer/songwriter helped to kick off the global Yes, Yes, Yes to Safe Sex event for MTV and The Body Shop in New York City on Tuesday.
“Initially I thought this was a really heavy, scary topic, but it must be talked about … There are so many campaigns that preach wrap-it-up, wrap-it-up, condom, condom, condom, but the numbers aren’t going down — they’re rising. Collectively, we have to figure out a way to make this less uncomfortable to talk about, to state the facts and bring awareness so that young people can react.”
MTV and The Body Shop are doing their part with campaigns to benefit MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation, which works to empower the 18 to 25 set when it comes to the safety-first sex issue. With each $8 purchase of The Body Shop’s Tantalizing Lip Butter, $5 goes toward the foundation (staying-alive.org) to help create HIV-prevention programs.
Knowles, 22, firmly maintains that advocating abstinence isn’t enough.
“My parents did a really great job at giving us what I call ‘the real deal holy field’ so that we could be in the position to make decisions on our own,” she says in an interview with Metro. Knowles added that she was about 13 when she first learned about safe sex.
For her, education and being armed with all the facts about risks and consequences is key. “The reality is that young people are having sex,” she insists. And getting a no-sex-before-marriage message from one side, and uninformed input from a young peer group on the other side can result in confusion.
Knowles is planning to hit schools to talk about safe sex, and hopes to help young people celebrate diversity as a foundation for personal strength.
For herself, Knowles is continuing to develop herself as an artist, focussing on her music. She’s heading back into the studio this summer.
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