In South Africa, a march is planned for Thursday calling for more comprehensive sex education and condom distribution in schools. Organizers expect about 10,000 young people to take part in the march in King Wiilliamstown in the Eastern Cape.
Nathan Geffen is a spokesperson for the Treatment Action Campaign, an organizer of the demonstration and one of South Africa’s largest AIDS activist groups. From Cape Town, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the call for increased sex education and condom distribution in schools.
“This has been something that TAC members, youths particularly in TAC, have been pushing for a long time. They’ve been saying one of the biggest problems is that there’s inadequate education around life skills and sex education in schools. There isn’t an availability of condoms in schools. And therefore, the culture of using condoms for sex is not developing. In contrast to the naysayers who say condoms promote sex, the evidence is quite the opposite actually. In fact an American study has shown that where condoms are available in schools, it doesn’t at all imply an increase in sexual conduct in the school…. The important thing is not to pass moral judgments and to enforce one’s religious ideologies, but to ensure youth do so (have sex) without risking their health,” he says.
Geffen disagrees with those who say condoms encourage people to have sex. “The way that some religious fundamentalists go on about condoms and promoting sex is that you’d think condoms are aphrodisiacs. The problem is they’re completely the opposite. People don’t want to use condoms. And we have to change that culture.”