We want to put the spotlight on the lack of sexual education in the classroom and at home due to the fact that many adults feel it is not their place to discuss these topics with people under the age of 18.
“Not only do teachers avoid issues on body changes, safe sex and termination of pregnancies, they also avoid veering from heteronormative conventions. Little research, time and effort are put into trying to understand learners’ sexuality and the challenges they might face.” - Khadija Bawa, IOL.
If children are not given the right information from someone they trust and rely on, they will either act with ignorance or pursue acts based on what they learn from the TV and the internet. Even worse, they gain their sexual knowledge and experience from deviant adults with ill intentions taking advantage of their innocence.
According to the Right to Care group: in the South African rural setting, 52% of all sexually active young people aged between 15 and 24 report having never used condoms with their most recent partners in the last year.
Furthermore, nearly a third of all new HIV infections in South Africa occur in the 15 - 24-year old age group, with adolescent girls being up to eight times more likely to be infected with HIV than their male counterparts. According to HSRC statistics, black African women aged 20 – 34 have an HIV prevalence rate of 31.6% and that almost a quarter of all new infections occur among young women aged 15 – 24.
As adults, we need to help guide the youth to make better choices and avoid situations that could lead to contracting HIV.
Start small with a WhatsApp group between the parents or your community. Gain the support of others and break the stigmas around sexual education and the real facts about HIV and AIDS. You can save a life by letting go of conservative behaviour and start with open and honest conversations.
For more information to help you with facts to share with your mentee and fellow adults, check out the pages below: