Concerned mothers from Harare’s Mabvuku suburb approached SAfAIDS staff during the Harare Agricultural Show seeking advice on curbing risky sexual behaviours among adolescents in their community. They reported that nude parties have become a regular occurrence in the area and they fear for their children’s health and welfare.
Parents have been forced to leave for the diaspora to seek a living, leaving their children alone to care for their houses. But their homes are now being turned into mini brothels as the children run wild, without adult supervision or guidance. Nude parties are now the order of the day and many adolescents are now attending these risky parties, due to peer pressure.
One woman, a community care worker, noted that many parents do not know what their children are up to, always thinking it’s someone else’s child getting up to these tricks, not theirs.
“The young people place empty cardboard boxes at the entrance door and on their way in, the children remove their clothes. At the door, everyone attending has to eat scones spiced with drugs to boost their confidence and remove their inhibitions. The drugs impair their judgment and they end up engaging in risky sexual behaviours. Because they are high, they do not use protection, and we are afraid they will infect each other with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). They are also exposed to the risk of unintended pregnancies”, she said.
The SAfAIDS team discussed sexual and reproductive health with the parents, providing them with the necessary information to engage their adolescent children on the issue. This included information on handling peer pressure, relationships, gender-based violence, HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
The parents were also encouraged to educate their kids about issues around sex at home, so that they feel at ease discussing with their parents and understand the risks they and their friends may be taking.