MUSANZE - Condoms should be made available to secondary school students as one of the measures to protect the youth from contracting HIV/Aids and early pregnancies.
The advice was given at a consultative meeting convened to discuss protective measures against HIV among the youth, especially secondary school students.
The meeting held in Musanze on Tuesday, involved local leaders, NGOs, members of the National Women’s Council (CNF), youth leaders, and heads of schools drawn from the Northern Province.
“We should use all available mechanisms to protect the students from HIV. Accessibility to condoms should compliment civic education from families.
Sex education is lacking in our families, and we cannot sit and watch as HIV spreads,’’ said MP Theobald Mporanyi, head of the Parliamentary Commission on Reproductive Health, HIV Prevention and Family Planning.
According to statistics, (RDHS-2005), only 37 and 73 percent of young women and men aged between 15-24 years respectively could access condoms on their own.
Head teachers were requested to use Anti-Aids Clubs, Gender clubs and students’ associations to discuss HIV/AIDS, accessibility to condoms, abstinence, and consequences of unprotected sex.
Rwanda’s population survey indicates that 67 percent of the youth are under the age of 25 and the majority of the youth aged 15-24 are in secondary schools and higher institutions of learning.
The provincial Governor, Aime Bosenibamwe, said that local leaders should own the responsibility of increasing HIV/Aids awareness.
“We need more discussions, openness on the realities of HIV. It’s a time bomb and an economic challenge to you,’’ Bosenibamwe said.
Canut Dufitimukiza, the Executive Secretary, Rwanda NGO Forum, said that myths about condoms and sexuality, religious beliefs and Rwandan culture remain challenges in the HIV campaign.
The consultative meeting was organised by Rwanda NGO forum.