Gauteng teens opt for safer sex

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AP

Johannesburg - About 84 percent of young people and adults in Gauteng were HIV negative, with new infections among teenagers showing a decline, the province said on Wednesday.

Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said new infections among teenagers in the province decreased by almost half between 2002 and 2008.

Teenage boys recorded the highest use of condoms at 80 percent.

“This was achieved through families, life-skills training in schools and Aids media campaigns,” said Mokonyane.

Mokonyane was briefing reporters in Johannesburg after a meeting with the Gauteng Aids Council (GAC).

The GAC, along with civil society groups and community organisations, partnered with the province to end new HIV infections as well as to adopt plans for the 2013/2014 financial year.

In a speech delivered at the briefing, Mokonyane said statistics revealed that young women between the ages of 15 and 29

recorded the highest new HIV infections in the province.

“Teenagers are still getting pregnant and infected with HIV as the statistics... indicate that some 4200 girls in Gauteng schools were pregnant between 2008 and 2011,” she said.

She said half of young women were driven to have sex with men who were older than them, as some used the relationships to meet their social and financial needs.

“The inequality in these relationships undermines women’s ability to protect themselves from HIV and pregnancy with condoms and family planning.”

She said the province and the GAC would now turn their focus to older men, especially those who were having sex with teenage girls and younger women.

“These men have higher HIV infection rates and the risks are even higher when alcohol is involved. Condom use in this age group is poor.”

Mokonyane said the education department would continue with life skills training at schools, while the health department would work on eliminating new HIV infections in babies.

“The health department is continuing with promoting the Gauteng Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and Sexually Transmitted Infections, and will be targeting unemployed youth and youth in education institutions until the end of this month,” she said. - Sapa


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