Livingstone School Leavers Scramble For Condoms.
The VCT day was this year observed under the theme ‘ HIV Testing; Key to Reaching 90- 90- 90 Targets’. Some of the teenagers who were seen on the queues for VCT said they were aged between 13 and 14 years.
The children failed to explain what they would use the condoms they had been given for.
VCT organisers said they were aware that it was wrong to give children condoms but that they assumed that the children were sexually active.
And Livingstone District AIDS Task Force chairpersons Eugene Kamuti regretted that the condoms were being given to children and promised to correct the mistake.
“ The problem with some of the stakeholders that we have in the fight against HIV and AIDS is that they want to use people who have not undergone any form of training in terms of counselling and how to handle the different age groups,” he said.
Mr Kamuti said in an interview yesterday that there are ethics and guidelines which have to be followed when handling these issues of teenagers.
“ We don’t allow the giving to condoms to teenagers as young as 13 or 14 years old, there is a tool which is used to teach teenagers on such issues,” he said.
Mr Kamuti noted that there were several stakeholders during the VCT Day commemoration who were offering different services and he was yet to receive a report on which particular organisation was giving condoms to teenagers.
He said a stakeholders meeting has been called where they would address the gap which had been observed.
Mr Kamuti said it was against government policy and guidelines to give teenagers condoms.
And on Thursday, acting Livingstone district commissioner Harriet Kawina said VCT is an important entry point to HIV prevention, care and support.
“ When you know your HIV status, you will be able to make informed choices,” Ms Kawina said.
She said counselling needs strengthening to help people deal with the issues around HIV and AIDS. And Livingstone district medical officer Cliff Hara said the prevalence rate of HIV was still high in the district as compared to the national average.
Dr Hara said interventions are being put in place to ensure that the prevalence rate drops.