Students in neighbouring Botswana's boarding schools have resorted to using plastic bags as condoms, it has emerged.
The shocking revelation came to the fore during a Comprehensive Sexuality Education workshop attended by curriculum developers, NGOs and Civil society representatives working with HIV and adolescent youth programmes this week in the country.
The five-day consultative workshop organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was held at Tati River lodge in Francistown.
Gosata Rabantheng, a nurse who facilitated at the workshop said the fact that we have knowledge that our school going children were sexually active called for a proper response if we are going to ensure that we don't fight a losing battle.
"We asked these students and they told us that they were indeed sexually active," Rabantheng said.
Asked how they protected themselves since condoms were not made available in schools, the students said they improvised by utilising discarded cheese knacks plastic bags.
"They simply buy cheap cheese-knacks and then use the plastic bags during sex. This option is not only hygienically bad but it can also be dangerous since it could cause other communicable diseases like vaginal discharge. The whole thing could also be very corrosive for the inside of the users' private parts" Rabantheng said.
Although HIV prevalence and other sexually communicable diseases were on the decrease amongst youth aged 15-24 years, Rabantheng said it was very important to device a relevant approach on sexual education meant for the youth.
"The government stance is that no condoms should be provided in schools,but we feel the preventive strategy must be compatible with the students need and should also be focused to their expectations. We are still negotiating with the relevant ministry regarding these new developments which are caused by government decision not to provide condoms in school," Rabantheng said.
She was briefing the participants about the current challenges and achievements towards sexual education and behavioral change amongst young people.
In her opening remarks UNFPA representative, Aisha Camara-Drammel said that although there was a decrease in HIV amongst youth there was still a challenge since parents were still not keen to talk about sex openly with their children.
"HIV remains high amongst youth since we still see quite a number of school going children dropping from school because of pregnancy," Camara-Drammel noted. – Voice