IT may not be the most popular subject, but the fact is that teens are still at risk of contracting the deadly HIV and Aids disease.
Now the question will be: Are teens showing ignorant of this deadly disease?
For some teens that are fairly informed, it may seem common knowledge that Aids is ravaging, but for some across the country, this isn’t the case.
Research has shown that HIV and Aids is now common among youths, including those of secondary school going age.
While a lot has been done to educate the public on the dangers of the infections, prevention programmes used to instruct and inform the teens are still greatly needed so as to changes in their sexual behaviour.
Children are taught of HIV and Aids from primary school. Learning material on the disease has been put in print and electronic media, on catchy pamphlets and videos.
Drama groups have also visited schools in an attempt to conscientise teens.
The Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture in conjunction with Unicef in 2006 initiated an in-service training scheme of primary and secondary school teachers in HIV and Aids life-skills and counselling so as to teach teenagers in schools around Zimbabwe about the deadly disease.
With research showing that around half of the people living with virus in Zimbabwe become infected during adolescence or young adulthood, many are left to conclude that the teens are showing ignorance from the safe sex education being imparted in them.
A closer look at the number of school dropouts due to early pregnancy and reports signifying that the proportion of young women with multiple sexual partners has increased recently, suggesting that the teachings of safer sex practices among teenagers is yielding little results.
This has prompted the society to suggest that the National Aids Council and other alike organisations distribute condoms in schools as a way of trying to reduce the spread of pandemic among the youth.
Many a people would even argue that it would not be the panacea to the problem, saying that schooling is not meant for that.
Dishing condoms in schools is like condoning the bad behaviour which needs to be corrected rather than aided.
Could it be that the message is not clear and tailor-made for the intended audience when it comes to sexual issues and HIV among teens?
Teens must not sacrifice their entire future because of a few moments of excitement.
Such behaviour has seen many parents being labelled as failures when it comes to educate their kids on our social norms, beliefs, cultural and traditional values as Zimbabwean.
With all these dramas happening among the teens, it would be prudent that today’s youth be able to stand tall and firm, proclaiming proudly that they are the future leaders of Zimbabwe.
Parents who spoke to NewsDay expressed concern about the rate at which teens are contracting the disease and dying at the same time.
The majority of the parents suggested that having open discussions on issues pertaining to sexual rights and behaviour of children is of paramount importance if the society is to try and save them.
“The youths’ behaviour is a huge challenge the society should deal with nowadays, especially with HIV and Aids and other socio-health consequences. We have to break cross-cultural issues that make it taboo for parents to discuss such issues with their children,” Kebby Dutiro of Hatfield argued.
Nelvine Katsoka of Chitungwiza had this to say: “Gone are the days when people would say there are aunties or uncles to discuss such issues with children. These days, even mothers and fathers should be able to discuss these issues with their children and advise them about sexual behaviour and some of the dangers that are there. If we do not discuss these subjects with them we are making them vulnerable.”
From the looks of things, there is no doubt that a larger number of teens are not worried or even bothered by HIV and Aids issues.
This fact alone should inform the everyone that educational outreach programmes in schools, neighbourhoods and communities are of importance.
While it is important to educate teens on the risk factors and behaviour’s attributed to infection, they should also understand that nothing is 100% effective except for abstinence.
It is an effective way and actually would be the best solution.