Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, MEC for Health in KZN. Picture: Supplied

Durban - Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, MEC for Health in KZN has said that people should enjoy Valentine’s Day but must not fall victim to unplanned pregnancies.

Love is in the air, Valentine’s Day is on Wednesday and it is STI/Condom Week (10 - 16 February 2018) in South Africa, Dhlomo has warned youngsters to either abstain from sex or use protection so they do not contract sexually transmitted diseases and risk having unplanned babies.

The MEC has been targeting students at Tertiary Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges to spread messages to help the youth stay informed and make good decisions concerning their lives.

Dhlomo urged the youth to delay their plans of having sex for as long as possible and said that it is key to helping them realise their full potential and to safeguard their positive educational and health outcomes.

“February is generally known as the month of love. And with Valentine’s Day upon us, we know that young people might be tempted to do things that might have negative long term effects for them, such as unsafe sex. Although most of the young people at tertiary institutions are disease-free, they are at high risk of teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV,” said Dhlomo.

“On Valentine’s Day and beyond, we are saying to young women in particular, the men who sleep with them do not do so out of love, but out of lust. Our message is, ‘You don’t need someone who will come into your life and yield negative results.’ We are intensifying these campaigns, and will continue engaging with young people,” said Dhlomo.

Dhlomo has warned youngsters to either abstain from sex or use protection so they do not contract sexually transmitted diseases and risk having unplanned babies. Audio: Supplied

He said that young people who cannot abstain from sex should opt for dual protection, which is a combination of medical male circumcision and using condoms during every sexual episode and combining it with contraceptive methods for women.

"I plead with you to be responsible for your health. With the range of free health services available to the public, anyone who falls pregnant or gets infected with a sexually transmitted infection will only have themselves to blame,” said Dhlomo.

He said national campaigns such as “First Things First”, DREAMS and “She Conquers” will continue to be pushed in the province, to help young people make informed choices about their sexual reproductive health.

“We are particularly concerned with young women aged 15 and 24, who are at high risk of contracting HIV due to intergenerational and transactional relationships with Sugar Daddies and the so-called “Blessers,” continued Dhlomo.

He said that research has shown that older men who have had years of sexual experience (the Blessers), are the ones who infect young women with HIV, then the young women infect boys their age.

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