STUDENTS in tertiary institutions are demanding flavoured condoms as compared to the cheap freely distributed ones, MDC senator for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Siphiwe Ncube has said.
Debating a report on HIV/Aids in institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe, Ncube said their visits to several institutions across the country was an eye-opener, as students are fighting to live an expensive life which for most is beyond their means.
“At colleges there are some students who want a high lifestyle that they cannot afford for example having expensive cell phones and hairstyles.
“What also disheartens me is the issue of condoms which they highlighted that there are some condoms that they do not want freely distributed but prefer the expensive flavoured ones,” Ncube said.
She said students must learn to live within their means and appreciate the reason they are at school.
“If you really want to behave like a normal human being, you must appreciate your situation and not refuse to use freely given condoms whilst you do not have enough money to buy expensive ones.
“Throughout our tour, we combined all the students and elderly people; we talked to them differently so that they will freely talk on what they want. Some of them highlighted that they want the perfumed condoms.
“As parents, honestly how do you feel when you hear your child saying such things? If we are parliamentarians, it does not mean we are not parents anymore, we are parents and we go out and hear such things from students, it is really disheartening,” she said.
The report comes after Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa recently said his ministry and development partners should look for ways to “to close the tap” of new infections caused by the key populations.
According to the National Aids Council statistics, one of the country’s biggest universities, Midlands State University, with an enrolment of 23 000 is the major driver of the Midlands Province’s high rate of HIV, with cases of Sexually Transmitted Infections shooting from 5 814 to 6 727 in one year.
1, 5 million people are living with HIV in Zimbabwe, with about 790 000 estimated to be women above the age of 15 years.
Ncube said that students must not succumb to peer pressure and indulge in unprotected sexual activities that will destroy their future.
“You would have spent four years at the university or even progress to PhD and at the end of the day you will not be able to use those certificates.
“There is an adage that says when you stay at the same place; you will not be able to learn other things. They say cancer and BP cannot be cured. Some of them will say it is better to have HIV/Aids because it can be cured.
“If someone can have the boldness to say there are some people who are referred to as ‘blessers’ and others say if I engage in sex without a condom I must be paid $50. Why honestly should someone demand $50 that can buy groceries that can fit in two small plastic bags; before the end of the week, that grocery will be used up but you would have destroyed your future?” she said.
During the debate, Ncube also said students are also suffering accommodation problems in all the provinces that they visited.
“When we went to Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic, students were complaining a lot, especially on the issue of accommodation. Even if the accommodation is there, it is not enough to accommodate all of them. Even to the other places that we were touring, it was the same, although with Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, the problem was a bit too much,” Ncube said.