Clubbing, drinking places increase HIV infection among youth-PPAZ

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The Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ) has called on government and parents to accept the fact that young people are engaging in sexual activities.

PPAZ Managing Director Edford Mutuma said accepting that youths are engaged in sexual activities would put government and other stakeholders in a better position to know how to reduce the HIV infection among the young people in the country.

Mr. Mutuma said in an interview with ZANIS today that there has been an increase in the number of young people contracting HIV especially among those that are between the ages of 14 to 24.

He observed that however, most parents do not want to accept the fact that their children are engaging in sexual activities.

Mr. Mutuma said parents’ denial about their children’s sexual activities leads to teenagers having unprotected sex as they lack information on how to protect themselves once they become sexually active.

He said parents must talk to their children about sexual reproduction.

Mr. Mutuma expressed sadness that the environment in which teenagers are being brought up today does nothing to help reduce rates of HIV infections among youths.

He explained that this is because the country has more recreational activities such clubbing and drinking that promote sexual activities than sports and books that would help provide sexual free entertainment.

He said his organization was trying to reduce the number of youths being infected with sexually transmitted diseases by increasing their outreach programmes and forming groups for youths where they can participate in sports and openly talk about issues that affect them.

“The increase in the HIV infection among the youths should be an eye opener for Zambians to accept the reality on the ground, which is that our young people are becoming sexually active at a tender age which has led to the increase of HIV rates and early pregnancies and this has make the promotion of gender equality difficult,” he said.

He further appealed to government to put in place deliberate policies and laws that make it easy for young people that are sexually active to access condoms and contraceptives without feeling like it was an abomination since these were health services and not a taboo.