HIV infections can be tackled with youth friendly healthcare

South Africa has the world’s highest AIDS burden.
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South African National Aids Council (Sanac) civil society forum spokesperson Nelson Dlamini has called for youth friendly health care services at a march in Durban, ahead of the South African Aids Conference.

Dlamini says the highest number of new HIV infections are among girls and young women between the ages of 15 and 24. He says KwaZulu-Natal records over 1300 new HIV infections per week in this age group, with young people from underprivileged communities being the hardest hit.

He is calling for more sexual education for young people.

“Youth friendly services are something that we are trying to scale up and promote. So this march is looking at all these issues to say as much as the government is making an effort but the people on the ground also should know that there are services that are accessible and how young people should be accessing them,” says Dlamini.

He says, “It is an advocacy march to say that as SANAC civil society forum we also want to play our role in assisting government efforts.”

Previewing the upcoming SA AIDS Conference:

Meanwhile, Love Life CEO Patrick Kulati says the justice system needs to intensify punishment for rapists, in a bid to reduce the increase in rape cases in South Africa.

South African authorities are calling for parents to take a more proactive role in raising their children, in an effort to mitigate the rising rates of teenage pregnancy. KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Cape are leading provinces where teenage pregnancy continues to be rife.

KZN recorded 26 515 teen pregnancies in eight months, while in Northern Cape more than 3 000 schoolgirls between the ages 10 and 19 fall pregnant between 2022 and March 2023.

Kulati says the justice system has a crucial role to play.

“The justice system depends on the investigation where things are happening. If incidents are not reported when a child has been sexually molested and the whole testing has not been properly done it will be difficult to provide needed evidence,” says Kulati.

He added saying, “Communities need to cooperate and report these cases. We want the justice system to be empowered with all the evidence so that they can make the proper decisions. We want the justice system to be able to increase the number of convictions in this area.”

Concerns over rising rates of teenage pregnancy particularly in KZN, NCape: