Uganda: Sex Education for HIV-Positive Teens
July 14, 2010
Ugandan health officials are grappling with how to provide sex education to children and teens who have been HIV-positive since birth.
"Some of them are in puberty stage and the desire, the sex desire is at its peak. Unfortunately this is the reality whether you are HIV-positive or not. The problem is that these teenagers will not have condoms at school or cannot afford them," said Dr. Jane Nakaweesi, a pediatrician at Uganda's Mildmay Center, a health facility that serves HIV-positive children.
Every year in Uganda, at least 30,000 infants are born HIV-positive, said Dr. Steven Watiti at the Mildmay Center. The current debate focuses on how to reach HIV-positive children as they become sexually mature.
One advocate for encouraging abstinence is Minister of Education Geraldine Namirembe Bitamazire. "There is sex education in schools, particularly in upper classes, to prepare children for such a time when they should be ready. And that time is certainly after school when they get married," Bitamazire said.
One leading Ugandan HIV advocate backs a more comprehensive approach. "It is true that children should delay sex but we all know that children are starting sex early," said Major Rubaramira Ruranga, head of the National Guidance and Empowerment Network of People Living with HIV. "We need to save them from getting HIV from those who already have the virus -- and if condoms are the solution so be it."
James Kakooza, Uganda's minister for primary care, said he is optimistic that government officials will be able to resolve how to distribute condoms in the nation's schools.
Inter Press Service
07.02.2010; Joshua Kyalimpa
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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