CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South African school children urgently
need more sex education to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the
spread of diseases including AIDS, Education Minister Kader
Asmal said on Tuesday.
Asmal, admitting that HIV may cause AIDS but sticking to the
much criticized government line that there was no absolute
proof, said sex education had been neglected in schools for
"We haven't taken seriously the value of sex education," he
told a news conference, noting the prevalence of sexual
encounters and booming pregnancies among girls under 13 years.
Teachers were now being trained to educate pupils about the
value of safe sex in preventing unwanted babies and the
transmission of sexually-transmitted diseases, including AIDS.
"HIV may cause AIDS," he said. "There are gay people who
have moved from HIV to AIDS. There are also heterosexuals who
are HIV positive and who develop AIDS."
President Thabo Mbeki has been criticized at home and abroad
for refusing to state categorically that there is a direct link
between HIV and AIDS. His critics charge that his ambivalent
message is a green light for youths who dislike using condoms
to discard them. Asmal said statistics showed the most
vulnerable group in the country was between 15 and 24 years