PARENTS and youths in Nyanga’s Nyanzou area have struck a rare deal — they have agreed that youths from as young as 15 years of age should be allowed to use condoms.
REPORT BY JENNIFER DUBE
Members of the Young People We Care (YPWC) group which represented youths, in a recent dialogue with adults from the area, were last week excited to tell journalists how they managed to convince parents to allow them to use condoms.
“We had a dialogue at Nyanzou Primary School where our behaviour change facilitator Rose Nyabasa asked parents for their views regarding condom use among youths from 15 years and above,” 26-year-old Bridget Madyarira said.
“At first the parents, especially mothers, were fuming and opposed the idea but we convinced them that we are better protecting ourselves than having unprotected sex, because whether society likes it or not, youths are engaging in sexual activities, sometimes with people who expose them to a lot of risks.”
Nyabasa, who has been distributing condoms to people above 18 years of age for the last 10 years, was given the green light to also distribute to youths from 15 years of age.
“We encourage our children to abstain but starting from October 2012, parents have given me permission to give condoms to those youths who come to me asking for them,” she said.
“I first talk to the child, asking what it is that makes them feel they can no longer abstain. I ask them if they are aware that condoms are not 100% safe and such related questions. I then give the child the condoms after a thorough discussion.”
Nyabasa said a number of youths had approached her for the protective sheath since October.
School children sexually active
ROSE Nyabasa explained that she and YPWC members mobilised the community to participate in the dialogue following the testing of schoolchildren in the area.
“Clinic staff contacted me with sad news that three children from a certain school in our area had tested positive for HIV and they asked me to help,” Nyabasa said. “In my discussions with the children and their parents, it turned out that two out of the three were not born with the virus. I later got to know a few things about their sexual life, which made me think we needed to do something very quickly to help our children.”
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