Basic Education Report Reveals 1300 HIV Infections Weekly Among Young Girls

A report by the Department of Basic Education has revealed that scores of young girls between the ages of 10 and 19 years old are infected with HIV every week. This was stated during the department's state of teenage pregnancy and comprehensive sexuality report presented to the portfolio committee on Basic Education.

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According to a report from the Department of Basic Education, hundreds of young females between the ages of 10 and 19 are infected with HIV every week. 

The statement was made during a presentation to the portfolio committee on basic education of the department's state of teen pregnancy and comprehensive sexuality report on Tuesday.

In breaking down the exact numbers Basic education Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga explained that these can be to the tune of several thousands, particularly when one looks at some of the provincial figures that were reported earlier this year.

If you look at the numbers the Department of Health in Gauteng reported 23 000 young girls in the province fell pregnant, between last and this year. In KZN it was 35 000, in Mpumalanga 15 000, so those are numbers of young girls who should be in school and allowed to be children and grow up without any destructions to their lives.

The report states that 1 300 teenage girls are infected with HIV on a weekly basis. It further explained that 30% of them fall pregnant through the year while 65% of these are unplanned pregnancies. Additionally, 15.1% of all girls experience sexual violence at school.

According to Mhlanga, the report was compiled using a variety of sources including a household survey, the World Health Organisation, Sadac, the Department of Health and the Department of Social Development among others.

The Basic Education Department says it uses the report to plan and formulate responses that will help learners complete school without having to encounter instances of teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence.

In terms of support mechanisms that the department has put in place to respond to the issue, Mhlanga states that the department embarked on a campaign in which they appeal to parents to protect these young girls, particularly during the lockdown period. 

He adds that despite their efforts through their comprehensive sexuality education campaign, there have been people and organisations who are opposed to the idea.

We have incorporated a lot of age-appropriate structured material through the comprehensive sexuality education which we are using in schools, which, unfortunately, is what has been opposed by some people and organisations who marched to the department to say 'you can't talk to our children about sex and sexuality', even though the aim of the programme is to empower young children.  

 

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