During a national AIDS council meeting yesterday, director of HIV/AIDS prevention, Dr Refeletswe Lebelonyane said that in a study they carried out in Gaborone, Francistown and Kasane, locals accounted for 97.6 percent of men who had sex with other men. There were also men from Zimbabwe, Zambia and other countries involved in the activity.Lebelonyane said that a majority of those involved in the sex are aged between 20 to 29 years. She said that out of a study population of 454, about 39.8 percent were students in Gaborone. Most of these men had their first sexual contact with a man at 19 years, mostly with a friend.
Lebelonyane said 38.6 percent of the young men reported to be in multi-concurrent relationships and 71.3 percent of them are circumcised. The young men report use of alcohol before sex with some of them being forced not to use a condom. A majority of them were unaware that anal sex carries a higher risk of HIV transmission. Further, 84.3 percent of the men used condoms during their last sexual engagement while the number drops to 65.9 percent in consistency. Reasons for not using condoms ranged from intoxication from substances, not having condoms and not liking condoms.
Meanwhile, the Vice President, Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe has said that the moral degradation among the youth needs to be addressed head-on by rebuilding and emphasising the importance of the family. Speaking during the council meeting, Kedikilwe said that parents need to understand their children and talk to them on issues of livelihood, development and social relationships.He said that culture and heritage can go a long way in reinvigorating the moral and social fibre of Batswana. Kedikilwe stressed that an even more complex challenge is the fact that the country is dealing with sexual relations whose understanding by society is still relatively primeval. He said that HIV prevalence as high as 61.9 percent among sex workers is alarming, yet not necessarily surprising. "What should concern all of us are some of the reasons why people find themselves in situations such as these ones," he said. The study revealed that men engage in sex with other men for various reasons like financial gain, peer pressure, pleasure and unemployment.