Condom conservatism should loosen
Despite the fact that Rwanda imports over 13 million condoms annually (PSI statistics), there is a huge reluctance by high school authorities to let students carry the life saving rubbers to school.
In other words, all these millions of condoms are not meant to be used by the students while they are at school because the headmasters believe that condoms will promote promiscuity.
This also would imply that, students are not supposed to protect themselves from contracting HIV or having unplanned pregnancies.
There is some sort of a paradox in this whole issue, which to me shouldn’t even be in the simplest case complex. The country is currently vigorously promoting condom use in all the villages and districts, university students even carry out personal initiative to go in groups to villages and demonstrate to the rural population how a condom must be used.
While all this happens, a high school student whose luggage is found to be hiding just one condom will face expulsion from the school and total humiliation.
He will be called all sorts of names, a bad influence to the rest of the students, as well as be assumed to be taking drugs.
With over 150,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Rwanda, there must be a rethink on this whole practice if we don’t want the numbers to increase. The most important people of our future are educated students. So every effort must be directed towards their safety and survival.
As a young man, I remember my days at high school as the wildest stage of my life. I hit 13 and all my adrenaline and testosterone doubled in figures. After endeavoring to get good grades, the rest of my adolescent life was bent on impressing the girls.
I would witness the more ‘active’ teenagers sneak out to have a moment with each other. Some of them would later be expelled for ‘dark cornering activities.’ All I hope for now is that they had sneaked in condoms instead of putting their lives at risk by having unprotected sex.
I would assume that the head-teachers would spearhead the fight against AIDS by urging their students to carry condoms to school instead of sticking with human conservatism.
Am sure every society would wish to preach abstinence first. But the fact is that abstinence works best for people who are religious, or people who uphold their morals and have a higher degree of self restraint.
People are not all the same. We don’t fight the same way and everybody needs different solutions to their problems. For that reason, condoms were invented to save people who would rather not abstain. Students also have a right to choose the best option to protect them from the AIDS pandemic.
The reason why young artists like Tom Close are put up on billboards to promote condom use is because the government’s acknowledges that sexual relationships in the youth are as real as a beggar squatting by the roadside.
It’s therefore an illusion for head-teachers to assume that sex on campus won’t happen if students are prevented from carrying condoms.
The truth is, students will go on and have sex no matter how strict the supervision is. As a matter of fact, they will be forced to engage in unprotected sex and put their lives at risk.