In an effort to curb teenage pregnancies and prevent the spread of HIV among the youth, the Treatment Action Campaign has called for condoms to be made available at schools.
The TAC, South Africa’s largest HIV lobby group, also said it would not back the new national HIV and tuberculosis plan, claiming it paid lip service to some of the most pressing issues in South Africa, including how to get condoms into schools and the decriminalisation of sex work.
Eastern Cape TAC chairman Mziwethu Faku said the organisation wanted condoms to be made available in schools because of the high rate of pregnancy among pupils.
“Sometimes pupils are ridiculed by unfriendly clinic staff for asking for contraceptives, even if they are of age [to have sex legally],” he said.
“The reality is that pupils are having sex, and providing condoms in schools does not encourage them to have sex, but it is for those who are having sex to be safe.”
The decriminalisation of sex work was essential to keep sex workers safe. “Sex workers have rights and we have to keep them safe, too. They cannot even report clients who do not pay because their work is illegal – and that is wrong.
“At this stage, the National Strategic Plan does not talk to us at ground level.”
Earlier this year, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the National Strategic Plan on HIV, TB and sexually transmitted infections, saying contracting HIV or TB was not a death sentence.