Family talks about sex reduce risks

2012-12-03 00:00

MOST parents don’t talk to their children about sex.

This is according to a recent survey conducted by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the results of which were released recently.

The IPPF is the world’s largest sexual and reproductive health and rights organisation.

“The fact that parents are not engaging with their children on sex education is of great concern.

“Young people need responsible and reliable sources of such information to be properly educated. We really need families to teach young people about sex, sexual health and responsible behaviour.

“Not speaking about it within the family actually increases the risks rather than preventing them,” said IPPF director-general Tewodros Melesse. KZN youths came out as the most conservative in their approach to sex.

Out of the youths surveyed, 74% had either had sex over the age of 16 (47%), were waiting for marriage (11%) or hadn’t had sex yet (16%). Seventeen percent had sex for the first time between the ages of 14 and 16 and nine percent had sex before the age of 14.

However, KZN fared the worst in the use of contraception. Only 29% of participants admitted to using contraceptives always, the worst in the country, and a quarter never use contraception.

The survey of young people’s attitudes to sex was done via mobile phone and ran for a week.

Three other countries, Nigeria, Namibia and Zimbabwe, were also surveyed.

In SA, respondents were split almost evenly between 16-24 years (51%) and 25-34 years (49%). It was revealed that when it came to learning about sex, the primary source of information (38%) was friends.

TV and media was second (19%), school classes were third (18%), the internet was fourth (14%) and family came in at a “worryingly weak” four percent.

Linda Naidoo, director of Childline KZN, said it is never too early to talk to children about sex.

“In KZN most children [who are abused] are abused at around six and seven years.”

Key points from the survey were the need for proper sex education and the need to promote family support to enhance its impact and effectiveness. — WR.

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