Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

South African Policy On Adolescents' Rights To Access Condoms Is Causing Confusion

Date:
January 20, 2009
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
In 2007, South Africa's new Children's Act came into effect, granting children 12 years and older a host of rights relating to reproductive health, including the right to access condoms. But current policies allow individual schools to decide whether or not to give out condoms -- policies that two researchers say could damage the health of the country's youth.

In 2007, South Africa's new Children's Act came into effect, granting children 12 years and older a host of rights relating to reproductive health, including the right to access condoms. But current policies allow individual schools to decide whether or not to give out condoms—policies that two researchers, writing in PLoS Medicine, say could damage the health of the country's youth.

Related Articles


Juliana Han (Harvard Law School, Cambridge, USA) and Michael Bennish (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA), both affiliated with the South African nongovernmental health organization Mpilonhle, say that the rights afforded by the act reflect growing concern over the need to prevent HIV in the country's youth. South Africa has the highest number of people living with HIV in the world. Those aged 15󈞄 years account for 34% of all new HIV infections and have an HIV prevalence of 10.3%.

"Despite the high incidence of HIV in adolescents," say Han and Bennish, "and the efficacy of condoms in preventing HIV transmission, condom use rates among adolescents remain low, due at least in part to limited access." One way to increase condom access for this group would be to make condoms available in schools.

The Children's Act, together with South African government policies, allows individual schools to decide whether to distribute condoms. Most school staff, say the authors, are unaware of South African policy and regulations governing condom provision in schools. "Because of confusing and contradictory government policies and public pronouncements regarding provision of condoms in public schools, few schools have undertaken to provide condoms, leaving students, especially in rural areas, with few options for obtaining them."

The authors acknowledge that making condoms available in schools is a socially divisive issue. Critics believe that making contraception available encourages sexual activity. But proponents cite the early age of sexual debut and the futility of HIV prevention education that encourages condom use but fails to actually provide condoms.

The researchers' own work with Mpilonhle, in which they interviewed teachers, parents, and students in rural northern KwaZulu-Natal, the province with the highest HIV prevalence, suggests there is generally support for the distribution of condoms in schools but confusion about governmental policy.

Condom access for adolescents in South Africa is also restricted by some of the funding agencies that support HIV prevention efforts. The US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS (PEPFAR), for example, which allocated US$398 million to South African HIV/AIDS programs in 2007, prohibits use of these funds for distributing condoms in schools or for providing condom information to youth aged 14 years and under. PEPFAR's policy conflicts with South African law.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Han et al. Condom Access in South African Schools: Law, Policy, and Practice. PLoS Medicine, 2009; 6 (1): e6 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000006

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "South African Policy On Adolescents' Rights To Access Condoms Is Causing Confusion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090120204751.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2009, January 20). South African Policy On Adolescents' Rights To Access Condoms Is Causing Confusion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090120204751.htm
Public Library of Science. "South African Policy On Adolescents' Rights To Access Condoms Is Causing Confusion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090120204751.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins