The UKZN HIV and AIDS Programme recently hosted a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)/Condom Week Campaign aimed at promoting safe sex, preventing unplanned pregnancy and providing information pertaining to the spread of STIs, including HIV.
The Campaign, spearheaded by health promoters with the assistance of peer educators, also highlights abstinence and delayed sexual debut. This annual event targets University staff and students. Activities during the campaign included health talks, putting up of awareness posters and the distribution of condoms on all University campuses and in student residences.
Ms Noxolo Batembu of the HIV and AIDS Programme said that the campaign encourages students and staff to deeply and carefully reflect when it came to decisions relating to engaging in sexual practices. The use of protection was also heavily emphasised.
‘The campaign served as a platform to raise public awareness about the importance of correct use of female and male condoms to reduce the risk of contracting STIs, unplanned pregnancy and HIV,’ said Batembu.
‘During this campaign, students and staff got a chance to ask questions about issues pertaining to sexual reproductive health and rights,’ said Batembu. ‘There is a need to educate and empower students and staff to reduce the incidence of STIs through prevention, improved treatment options and by taking charge of their health. There is also a need to empower young men and women to live healthy.’
Participants included the Campus Health Clinic, the Department of Health and the Thembalabantu Gay and Lesbian Centre.
‘Students arrived in numbers to do the screenings and also received both female and male condoms to take away with them. A large number of students asked questions about prevention methods available,’ added Batembu.