SELEBI-PHIKWE: Since the BCL mine closure youth have fallen victims and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infection. Some of the youth have been left to fend for themselves after their parents lost jobs.
It was revealed during the Month of Youth Commemoration organised by Botswana Police that this has put the girl child in a very compromising position.
As a result some have resolved to prostitution to take care of themselves while some have fallen prey to wealthy but old men as well as increased cases of gender based violence.
This was said by Cresta Bosele guest relations officer Masego Masunga during an event that was held in Botshabelo Police recently.
She said the youth has the right to learn more about their health and live healthy. She added that without the right to health people cannot effectively prevent HIV or access treatment and care services.
“It is however necessary to highlight that the right to health is not only by accessing quality health services but also being treated with Botho regardless of age. One may experience discrimination as youth to the culture that we conform to” she added.
Masunga further noted that in some instances one may be denied health services because they are young to take responsibility of their well being.
“Fortunately in Selebi-Phikwe district our health facilities have youth clinics to cater for the youth by providing youth friendly services. I therefore urge fellow youth to make use of those services time to time,” she said.
She further highlighted that research done by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for 2016/2017 revealed that Botswana is the second highest in HIV prevalence in the world with the latest reports estimating it to be around 17 percent for the general population and 24 percent for the 15 years and above age group.
She added that 49 percent of women aged 30-34 and 33.3 percent of pregnant ones are HIV positive. She borrowed from the
Masunga noted that in tackling challenges of decreasing HIV infections young people must be the key stakeholders in all the steps of the process.
“Their full involvement must be assured from analyzing the current epidemic situation and gaining insights into lifestyle choices to the planning and implementation of new measures in the country,’ she said.
She regretted that youth nowadays have inherited the western lifestyles and have copied most of the behaviors through the social media and tend to follow negative trends that are aired through social media platforms.
“We continue to see increasing numbers of teenage mothers which implies that there has not been any use of contraceptive measures,” she noted.
ACHAP representative in Selebi-Phikwe Kaone Mlotshwa said parents should never think that it is irresponsible for parents to believe that discussing sexual issues with their children because children indulge in sexual activities are a very early age.
She said the fact that children know about issues of sexuality is a reality that cannot be ignored. She also said that Selebi-Phikwe continue to experience teenage pregnancy and that between October and December last year 32 cases of teenage pregnancy were registered for young girls ranging between 13 to 19 years.
She cited incidents where young girls would organise ‘pens down’ parties where alcohol is mixed with sex enhancing substances, saying these parties end up with irresponsible sexual activities where even elderly men take part.
It was also observed that the trend of teenage pregnancies and cases of sexually transmitted diseases is a sign that condoms are not used.