The need for young people to make better-informed sexual-health decisions is as great as ever, if society is to reduce inequality and improve quality of life. The Durex CONNECT-ED campaign is embracing this priority, bringing the message of responsible sexual behaviour to schools – starting with Thaba Jabula in Soweto.

Approximately 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 years and 2.5 million girls under 16 years give birth each year in the developing regions of the world, which includes South Africa.1

Currently, more than 30% of all new HIV infections globally are estimated to occur among youth ages 15 to 25 years. Combined, there are 5 million youth living with HIV. Also, increasingly, children infected at birth grow into adolescents who have to deal with their HIV-positive status. 2

Abstinence and using condoms can protect against STD infection and unwanted pregnancy at the same time.

Durex actively promotes and advocates for improved sexual health and responsible sexual behaviour by using condoms. In addition, it has initiatives such as CONNECT-ED, which delivers sexual health resources to schools, nationally.

Durex will put the initiative into action on 18 July 2019, when it visits Thaba Jabula Secondary School in Pimville, Soweto.

CONNECT-ED aims to educate high-school learners (Grades 8-12) on the prevention of HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancies, sexual abuse and sexual health. The programme seeks to empower learners to make better sexual-health decisions and to empower educators to provide better support to learners. Educators are equipped with sexual education material such as the CONNECT-ED Buddy.

CONNECT-ED advocates for abstinence first – alternatively, safer sexual practices among the youth – and encouraging a positive change in sexual behaviour. Using the CONNECT-ED Buddy, an online advisor, learners are counselled sexual-health matters with anonymity and confidentiality.

The Durex Global Sex Survey 2017 survey revealed that a quarter of 18-24-year-olds lost their virginity before they turned 16, contributing to the concerning numbers of teenage pregnancies in the country.

School principal Mr. Mphuma says, “Every year we have a number of female learners who drop out of school because they fall pregnant, that is why we are grateful for Durex CONNECT-ED that equips the learners enough to make informed decisions about sex.”

Durex Brand Manager, Molly Khumalo says, “In 2017 alone Stats SA recorded close to 120 000 registered births4, this from mothers who are between the 15 – 19 years old. We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand and avoid conversations about sex. Now, more than ever, we need to empower our youth with everything that will allow them to make better-informed decisions about their sexual wellbeing.”