26/02/2014 – ACDP welcomes Parliament’s STI/Condom Awareness Week

ACDP welcomes Parliament’s STI/Condom Awareness Week

  • stresses importance of encouraging young people to delay sexual activity as long as possible 
  • calls on MEC’s for Social Development and Health to strengthen partnerships to provide community access to programmes on STI’s and available support

The ACDP today welcomed Parliament’s STI/Condom Awareness Week to provide employees with knowledge about sexually transmitted infections and condom usage.

STI/Condom Week is a health awareness event held in February annually which aims to prevent the spread of STI’s, HIV/AIDS and unplanned pregnancies.

ACDP Member of Parliament and Health Portfolio Committee Member, Cheryllyn Dudley, today said that:

“The wellbeing of our workforce is of utmost importance. Educating employees lessens the risk of sexual infections and unplanned pregnancy.

The ACDP calls on the Ministers of Social Development and Health and all relevant MEC’s  to strengthen partnerships with provincial and local organisations to provide community access to programmes creating awareness and knowledge on how to identify infections, how to deal with them and what support is available.

While HIV/AIDS and TB awareness has increased far fewer warnings about other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are noticeable. The ACDP has always cautioned against promoting condoms as the ultimate solution to HIV and STI’s however we accept that they are a necessary aspect of managing the situation people find themselves in.

Not much is said anymore about gonorrhoea and syphilis, the fear mongers of the past, as HIV AIDS has taken the spotlight, but these infections are still a real and horrific threat today.

Our youth, and most adults, are insufficiently aware of the very unpleasant symptoms of sexually transmitted infections which if untreated can lead to heart problems, paralysis and blindness.  Chlamydia, herpes, genital warts, trichomonas, pubic lice and scabies are the most common infections, and whilst some can be healed with medication, others are difficult to get rid of – those like herpes are recurrent and have no cure.

The ACDP stresses the importance of a consistent message encouraging young people to commit to delaying sexual activity for as long as possible with no sex before marriage being the ultimate goal.  It is important to encourage children to be children – free of the emotional struggles and turmoil that come with being physically intimate without the security of marriage.

Young people who have managed to significantly delay sexual activity, tell us they managed simply because they did not give themselves an option.  The experience of other countries indicates that condom distribution alone actually encourages a culture of casual sex and risky sexual behaviour.

Given the statistics of people suffering from STIs, there is not only much distress caused, there is also a heavy load on the health system.  It is also a reality that availability of condoms has not actually persuaded young people to use them; if we want a different reality we must approach the problem in a different way.

The ACDP is convinced that there is no ‘quick fix’ – it will require real work in addressing poverty, changing mindsets, building young people’s self-esteem, promoting awareness campaigns and day-to-day mentoring and teaching – for young people to value themselves and make choices that result in positive outcomes in their lives and the lives of their children.”

-ENDS-

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