healoth2.jpgResearch findings have revealed that there is a high incidence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in the 15 to 24 age group who are mostly in tertiary institutions.  

 

Nineteen tertiary institutions in the country participated in a research program that was assessing sexual and reproductive health programming and knowledge levels in an effort to understand why there is high incidence of HIV and sexually transmitted infections in the 15 to 24 age group.

 

The research was conducted by a local Non-Governmental Organisation – ‘Say What’ which is a student based movement that seeks to promote sexual and reproductive health rights of tertiary students.

 

At  a meeting held to present the research findings and validate the report with stakeholders, ‘Say What’ Director Jimmy Wilford said three universities, three polytechnics, six teachers colleges and seven agricultural colleges took part in the research.
 
Mr Wilford said: “The situation in most of our colleges needs urgent interventions if the country is serious about attaining the MDC’s by 2015. College students are lacking proper guidance and there is no access to prevention and treatment packages at most of our tertiary institutions.”

 

Responding to the findings presented at the validation meeting, Interpersonal Communications Manager at Population Services International Mrs Patience Kunaka and National Youth Coordinator of  National Aids Council Mrs. Beauty Nyamwanza said it is not a secret that students in tertiary institutions indulge in sexual relationships thus the importance of devising programs which will assist them to deal with issues of sexual reproduction.

 

“We have discovered that its wise to teach college students issues to do with sexual health reproduction because there is no way you can expect a child living at college not to conform to peer pressure. The majority of students are experimenting with different things and this is the time that they require information on HIV and STI’s.”

 

It has been noted that inadequate funding to sustain one through their days at college has led to female students engaging in sexual relationships with older men. This situation has also put younger girls at risk of contracting HIV from elderly men. Even male students are also at high risk as they can also contract the virus through college casual sex.