Thursday, April 22, 2010

SA Youths Face Huge Risks From HIV Infection, Drug & Alcohol Use

I've just read several articles about how SA youths are at risk from HIV infection ( because of having multiple cconurrent partners & not using condoms) and from alcohol and drug use. To give you a clue, here are some highlights:

  • 41% of learners had at least two sexual partners, 12% used alcohol or drugs before sex, and 13% had sex at the age of 14.
  • A shocking 52% of learners had an abortion, 19% have been pregnant or made someone pregnant and only 31% used condoms during sex.
  • A huge number of learners, 75% are smokers and 35% drink alcohol.
So today I'm talking about the issue on all my sites:

  • Kwanda - I'm asking members to do something in their communities to help their own youths.
  • Read SA - we're talking about how we can use books to effect social change and show young people the many options that are open to them, if only they knew how and where to look.
  • OneLove- the focus is on what we can do to discourage young people from having multiple concurrent partners
  • Phuza Wize - the focus is on what we can do to discourage young people from starting to drink at an early age
I'd also like to ask you to blog about these issues, with special focus on encourage our readers to do something in their own real life communities. Community action doesn't have to be big or time-consuming.

You can:
  • Give a young person a book or bunch of magazines to read
  • Listen when they try to tell you about events in their world
  • Offer a Saturday gardening job
  • Volunteer for an hour at the local community centre
  • Give a talk at your local school about your work and the challenges and rewards you gain.
Read more about the research findings here:

Youth focus on HIV/AIDS
Cape teens are SA tearaways
Campaigns make youth wary of sex


Tamara said...

Those figures are scary.

The one cinfuses me though... A shocking 52% of learners had an abortion, 19% have been pregnant or made someone pregnant.

How have 52% had an abortion if only 19% have been pregnant? Am I just being doff?

My hubby started drinking at an early age (his dad was an alcoholic at that stage) and I'm so blessed that he stopped before it became a serious issue! He uses his story to relate to teens and talk to youngsters (and not-so-young-folks too) about the dangers of alcohol abuse.

Damaria Senne said...

Huh! You are right - that is confusing. Double checked and that's what they said. Wonder if they transposed the numbers?

I think we do need people like TSC to talk to the youth, because it helps to gain credibility with them too. If you didn't drink like them at an early age, sometimes they feel like you can't understand what their going through.

Shannon said...

The smoking number throws me off, I thought SA was making strides in decreasing the number of smokers? I do notice when I'm over there though that it seems the "cool" thing for kids to do, while in the US there's been a gradual shift towards seeing it as nasty/dirty/lower-class.

Interestingly, what seemed to be more effective in reaching kids about that was not health warnings--kids think they're invincible--but advertisements that focused on how it's gross to smell like smoke, it gets in your hair and clothes, it stains your teeth, wrinkles your skin, and it's like kissing an ashtray. It might be frivolous but it seems like it's been more effective to take the "it makes you less sexy" route than to take the "it will kill you" route.

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