THE government is facing renewed calls to begin new consultations on distributing condoms at schools to curb the spread of HIV.
Masvingo Province’s second most senior civil servant said Education Minister David Coltart had closed the debate on the matter “prematurely”.
Provincial administrator Felix Chikovo says ministers would rather pretend sex is not happening at schools.
Speaking during belated World Aids Day commemorations in Gutu district held under the theme ‘Getting To Zero’, Chikovo said stopping new HIV infections demanded strong leadership and tough decisions.
"Earlier this year, there was a nationwide debate over the issue of condom distribution at schools. I felt the debate ended prematurely before correct solutions could be proffered,” said Chikova, a former school headmaster.
“There may be a need to re-engage on this matter and forge working solutions to the problem in our midst.”
At least 14 percent of Zimbabwe’s population is HIV positive, but the infection rate has been steadily declining over the last decade on the back of increased awareness campaigns.
Some HIV-Aids activists have suggested that schools should be targeted for sex education programmes, with condoms made available to pupils who need them.
“It is no longer a secret that children are indulging in sexual activities hence the need for a collective dialogue with concerned parties,” said Peter Vhoko, the chairman of Masvingo Province’s Aids Action Committee.
Education Minister David Coltart has resisted the push for condoms at schools, insisting that would encourage sexual deviance.
“There is no way we can allow distribution of condoms in schools. Parents want their children to abstain from sex at school age,” Coltart said earlier this year.
“School children should focus on their studies; we can’t have condoms in school toilets, classrooms and libraries. Those who would want condoms should go outside the school premises maybe at nightclubs and street corners not at schools.”