Let’s talk about sex – at home and at school
At the SA Aids Conference in Durban this week, delegates heard that 11% of South African children had started having sex before the age of 15 and that condom use was declining.
This is cause for concern, as new infections have remained steadily high – 400 000 recorded annually.
This despite the inroads made in the past decade – mother-to-child transmission has been lowered, life expectancy has increased by 10 years and HIV and Aids-related deaths have significantly decreased.
But it feels as though we take one step forward and two back every time any action is taken to curb this pandemic.
In an attempt to curb the infection of young children, the department of basic education said it wanted to increase sex education. This would include supplying condoms at schools so children could access them.
While the debate raged over whether supplying condoms would improve sex education or result in children engaging in sex at a younger age, the role of parents in teaching children about sex should not be ignored.
After all, the best education starts at home and this should be supplemented by teachers.
It is understandable that some parents are horrified that their 10- and 11-year-olds need to be enlightened about the details of sex and pregnancy – but tough times require unorthodox solutions.
Parents can cushion this shock by starting their own conversations at home.
Society has to do more than look at government to deal with the HIV/Aids scourge.
Families are the foundations of our society – and HIV/Aids is our collective problem.