The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: 'No' to Condom Sense

An increase in reported sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV/Aids, among adolescents has prompted many communities to take action to protect their youth. One proven method is to provide comprehensive sexuality education along with school-based programmes that make condoms available to sexually active youths though it is still debatable.

Speaking at the commemorations of World Aids Day last week in Harare, Child President Tatenda Rusere said, it is better to use common sense than condom sense.

"Abstinence is the best. We are still very young to indulge in sexual activities and that are my personal opinion," said the Child President.

The issue of condoms in schools was debatable.

"The distribution of condoms still remains a controversial issue, therefore there is need to still debate further as Junior Parliamentarians but as of now we don't have the correct answer to that," he said.

The Child President said World Aids Day was a day to highlight the advances that have been made in the area of HIV treatment.

"Zimbabwe is no exception when it comes to such issues because Aids is everywhere. It is estimated that there are 13 million children orphaned by Aids in sub- Saharan Africa, with the number almost certain to double by the end of the decade."

He said children were by nature vulnerable.

"Recent studies have indicated that, across the world, more than 13 million children under the age of 15 years have already lost a parent to HIV," said the Child President.

He said there was a need to implement programmes that reduced the vulnerability of children to HIV/Aids.

"As the Junior Parliament it is mandatory to us to fight this hence we need to implant such programme's to cater for that. Some key approaches such expanding life-skills education for youth, preventing maternal child transmission, strengthening capacity for paediatrics care and treatment, building comprehensive, family-centred care and support services and ensuring that young people have the information they needs to protect themselves from the disease.

"We need to work together to reduce stigma and discrimination in the community, in schools and in the health care setting," explained the Child President.

Junior Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals Munya Mahiya urged youths to get tested.

"The issue of condoms is a non-starter. I believe as young people we need to be empowered first to make the right choices. We should not run away from the fact that some young people are indulging in sexual activities," said the junior minister.

This year's commemorations where held under the theme, "Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination".

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