Youth need help


THE escalating rate of HIV-Aids infections and alcohol abuse among young people in Limpopo have become a nightmare that needs societal intervention, the provincial health and social development department said

Departmental MEC Dikeledi Magadzi said substance abuse and teenage pregnancy could not be separated because they impacted on each other.

She said those who abused intoxicants do not think and act rationally and were vulnerable to contracting sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Magadzi was speaking ahead of a summit on teenage pregnancy and alcohol abuse, which is scheduled to take place in Bela Bela tomorrow.

She said the summit would coincide with national sobriety week and was aimed at an integrated approach to eradicating social ills around the scourge.

The meeting will deal with the impact of substance abuse on teenage sexuality, the role of parents and teachers in combating substance abuse and teenage pregnancy, the risk associated with substance abuse during pregnancy and the impact of drug and alcohol abuse on crime.

According to statistics released by the department yesterday the Waterberg topped other regions with HIV-Aids, followed by Mopani, Capricorn, Sekhukhune and Vhembe.

Waterberg has 28,8percent, Mopani 26,2percent, Capricorn 23,8percent, Sekhukhune 16,6percent and Vhembe the lowest with 14,3percent.

Last month, Deputy Minister of Heath Gwen Ramokgopa commended South Africans for heeding President Jacob Zuma's call for HIV testing and counselling.

Ramokgopa was speaking at the HIV Counselling and Testing Campaign at ZZ2 Farms near Mooketsi in Limpopo.

Ramokgopa said 14 million South Africans had tested for HIV this year and in Limpopo 840 people were counselled for HIV, 813 tested for HIV, 645 screened for TB, 75 for hypertension, 75 for diabetes and 53 had Pap smear.

She said the testing had reduced the number of mother to child transmissions from 8percent to 3,8percent.

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