MY name is Innocent* and I am 20 years old, a second year
electrical infrastructure and construction student in Durban.
I attended the launch of the youth-friendly clinic in
Lamontville, Durban which makes sure that young people have their own space at
the health centre, where they can talk about things like HIV and STIs and
I don’t usually go to the clinic but I do attend
community events that have anything to do with HIV because it is such a serious
issue. At school I used to attend such
events about HIV and share the information I got there with other guys.
As youth, we do know about condoms and prevention but
many young guys say using condoms is boring. I tell them “that’s too bad but
you still need to protect yourself and your partner”. They must protect
themselves or abstain. That is the choice.
The good part about this clinic is that there is a space
where youth can just hang out and chill, chat to each other. It is easier when
we talk to our own age group – talking to older people is like speaking to our
parents. Sometimes it is easier to talk to a lady nurse than to a man. It would
be embarrassing to talk to a man about STIs, really.
Some of the issues that go with HIV, like beating girls,
is not in my age group. That is done by
older men. For us, if a girl says “no” then it is “no”. We have to respect that.
As a guy, if you have a partner then everyone can see
that and it makes you feel good. If guys
see a girl they like they will tell their friends “I am going to get her.” Then
they put each other under pressure to do whatever it takes to impress her. Other guys will laugh at you if you fail and
then you feel bad.
But we are put under pressure as students because girls
get things from older guys. Girls want to be taken to nice places and bought
Some girls say they aren’t after that and that they love
you. At first you can believe it then you realise they also want those
expensive things the blessers can buy.
As a student it is hard but I can only share the little
pressure I have. If it’s not enough for her, then I must leave her. But
sometimes it is hard emotionally, because it is not just about sex. Love is