Learners from four Tembisa high schools were shown graphic images of sexually transmitted infections (STI) in an effort to discourage them from having unprotected sex – and the learners have taken the lesson to heart.
After the explicit reproductive health campaign in Ekurhuleni pupils vowed to delay having sex. Onica Mvuma, a Grade 12 learner from Tswelopele Secondary School, said the images were an eye-opener.
Reducing teenage pregnancies
“It was my first seeing how different STIs look once you have contracted them and it was scary. I intend to practise safe sex in order to avoid pregnancy and STIs,” she said. Teachers at the school were hopeful that learners had taken the message seriously.
“We welcome these campaigns at our school and hope to have more because our learners seem to respond well to them,” said Life Orientation head of department Kekeletso Sibiya. Sibiya also hoped to see a change in the behaviour of the learners. “One of them came running to my office saying that she would abstain from sex after seeing pictures of the different infections that one can contract due to unprotected sex.
”Ekurhuleni spokesperson Themba Gadebe said the campaign aimed to educate teenagers about reproductive health issues such as sexually transmitted infections, teenage pregnancy and family planning. “We hope to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies and learners must be aware of the signs and symptoms of STIs and where to go if they encounter these signs.”
Thembani Masina, the manager of Ekurhuleni’s Maternal, Child and Women's Health programme, said the campaign could work to discourage teens from having unprotected sex despite the fact that there hasn’t been any research to establish the impact of such graphic messages.
Learners were encouraged to visit their clinics where they would be advised on various methods of contraceptives. Ekurhuleni clinics have employed nurses who are designated to help teenagers with reproductive health-related issues.