Disease biggest killer of SA youth – Radebe

Durban – A social profile of South African youth indicates there are a range of challenges facing young people in the country, Minister in the Presidency responsible for planning, monitoring and evaluation Jeff Radebe said on Thursday.

Radebe was speaking at the Hilton Hotel in Durban during a youth dialogue ahead of the upcoming 21st International Aids Conference.

According to Radebe, on April 26 a report on the social profile of South African youth by Statistics South Africa indicated that young people predominately died from various diseases.

"There is a vulnerability of young people to crime and violence. This report indicates 43.2% of young men die from external causes like violent crimes and car accidents. However [the] report indicates that infectious diseases are most likely the cause of death."

Radebe said the number of people between the ages of 15 and 34 had grown from 18.5 million to 19.6 million between 2009 and 2014 and constitutes about 36% of the country's total population.

Taking stock

"Many of you here are part of this group. You are our focus. The social profile of youth draws the imperative that all of us need to do more to reduce the number of young people dying from infectious and parasitic diseases."

Radebe told the room of young people that the annual Aids conference was an opportunity for youth to take stock of the progress the world is making in treating and eliminating HIV and Aids.

"This conference brings together scientists, researchers, government officials and civil society leaders. You the youth are the future of this land. There are many challenges that we face. Many of the challenges are being felt by the youth."

He urged young people to pay attention to the event.

"You [are] the most affected by this disease. This is why combating the spread of HIV/Aids is vital for your age group."

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