Botswana: All Should Contribute to Status Quo Change

Kang — First Lady Ms Neo Masisi has called for a multi-sectoral approach to prevent new HIV infections among young people.

She said despite government efforts, 50 per cent of new infections were recorded among the 15-24 age group, which she noted, was a concern since they are future leaders.

Ms Masisi, who is Botswana's UNAIDS special ambassador for empowerment and engagement of adolescents and young people, was speaking at an interaction roadshow at Motaung Junior Secondary School in Kang on October 8.

Everybody, she said should play a role to change the status quo and fulfil the country's dream of no new infections by 2030.

The first lady urged learners to strive for better lives that would leave a legacy for other generations.

She underscored the need for them to be informed on HIV matters so that they could make the right decisions.

"Studies have shown that your HIV knowledge and awareness is low, so I encourage you to inform yourselves through research, asking teachers and forming clubs that can teach you about sexual education and risk factors," she said.

Ms Masisi said it was disturbing that early sexual debut had been cited as one of the contributory factors with some engaging in sexual activities as early as 13.

She urged them to know their worth and preserve themselves until they were old and responsible enough to handle the consequences.

"It takes a few moments, but the consequences are big and life changing," she warned.

Learners were also urged to refrain from other risk factors such as drug and alcohol abuse, multi-concurrent partners as well as intergenerational sexual relationships, which were usually transactional.

They were further told to work hard in oder to afford certain lifestyles because transactional relationships resulted in abuse, among other things.

For his part, Kang station commander, Superintendent Olebeng Chingabe decried high cases of defilement in the area, the perpetrators of which were mostly close relatives.

He said lack of cooperation by the victims and their parents rendered police efforts futile.

He called on learners to report such cases to the police or social workers so that they could be dealt with accordingly,.

Superintendent Chingabe also appealed to learners to avoid interacting with strangers to prevent kidnapping.

One pupil called for new strategies and initiatives that would be effective in fighting the spread of HIV among young people.

A lot of information had been availed, he noted but the youth were failing to heed the call to fight the scourge.

Source : BOPA

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