The ABC campaign (Abstain Be faithful or Condomise), has been promoted by the government with the support of civil society; but note having said that; there is confusion myself and I would say many fellow South Africans I get from 3 ministries.
How is possible for three departments in one government to be singing two totally different tunes on the same issue. Take for in eg. the (DoH) Department of Health promoting the use of condoms and at that targeting the “most vulnerable populations” which some would be (MSM) men who have sex with men; (GLBT) Gays; Lesbians; Bisexual; and Transgender and sex workers and even distributing condoms for free; on the other hand we have the (DSS) Department of Safety & Security’s SAPS & Metro Police arresting sex workers for having condoms on them, or going around confiscating condoms from brothels.
Then we have the minister of basic education saying that she is not running brothels but schools and therefore she does not want condoms distributed at schools to an extent that she threatens a lawsuit against the department of health if they distribute, but the same department allows maternity leave for leaners that are pregnant.
How are sex workers expected to use condoms if it is a crime to have them? It is public knowledge that children as young as 12yrs (well if not younger) are having sex, even though it is a criminal offence to do so under the age of 16. Would we rather they get pregnant, and or maybe get infected with HIV and or STIs and carry the burden of with having to spend more of the tax payer’s money on treatment, care and support for those who are infected with either HIV or STIs and spending more of the tax payer’s money on child support grants for the children of these children or on abortions.
Are we saying it is better to react rather than being proactive, by making provisions to reduce harm where we know we cannot eliminate acts that causes harm? Why the distribution and promotion if condoms are illegal? As a tax payer would you rather money was wasted in this promoting and then discouraging? NO! Is this how South Africa intends on beating hiv/aids? What kind of government or leadership do we have? A confused one? Should we condomise; victimize or criminalize?