Call to roll out condoms at schools

Coloured condoms. Image: Supplied.

Coloured condoms. Image: Supplied.

The urgent need for the government to make condoms available at South African public schools took centre stage yesterday at the SA Aids Conference currently under way at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre.

Non-government organisations representing people living with HIV/Aids, medical experts and delegates called on government, and the department of basic education (in particular) to immediately implement the condom roll-out programme at schools around the country.

Deputy head of mission of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Dr John Ashmore said a number of myths stood in the way of making condoms available at schools. One of these was the idea that condoms are encouraging sex.

“We cannot ignore the fact that the average South African is sexually active at the age of 14. About 139 000 people between the ages of 15 and 24 contract HIV every year in South Africa, in particular young women,” he said.

Portia Serote of the Action Treatment Campaign said the department of basic education’s plan that mobile clinics be provided at each school could never work.

“We have a shortage of nurses, and even adults do not have access to healthcare services in some communities,” she said.

Discussions with the department about this issue had been held since 2011, without result.

The National Teachers Union is reportedly running its own condom initiative at primary and secondary schools in the KwaZulu-Natal province.


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