According to a survey by South African National Youth Risk Behaviour, only 40% of male and 31% of female adolescents always use a condom.
A report by the South African National Aids Council shows that every week, about 2 000 women in Mzansi between the ages of 15 and 24, are infected with HIV.
And one infected young man infects three women that he sleeps with.
Edward Sibanda, programme co-ordinator for Global Fund Programme at Right to Care, said it was time women showed some power with sex.
“They want to trust him, and they fear rejection and even harm, or that the man will consider she lacks respect for various religious and traditional or cultural practices,” Sibanda said.
Precious Robinson, programme lead for Maternal, Newborn, Child and Women’s Health (focusing on prevention of mother to child transmission) at Right to Care, said that while Mzansi had resources, excellent policies and strong leadership around HIV and Aids prevention, people still faced age old issues of power, tradition and certain expected behaviours regarding sex.
“These issues are sabotaging the progress that we are making in combating HIV,” she said.
Robinson said women were always encouraged to use a condom and given information on family planning, antenatal care or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) every time they visited their health-care centres.
“However, the reality is that negotiating condom use that results in the man agreeing to use a condom during sex is not often successful.
“It is a problem for most women, regardless of their age, status, economic circumstance, marital status or their position in the workplace or the community,” she said.
Robinson said there was a culture in Mzansi that women wanted to respect men to the extent that they didn’t question them – especially about sex.
A study by the Human Sciences Research Council reported that the economic, social and physical power imbalance between men and women contributes to the lack of safe sex in heterosexual relationships.
Sibanda said men didn’t even want women to use a female condom, which is another version of the same problem.
Here are some of the diseases you may contract if you don't practice safe sex:Gonorrhoea: This STI that can cause infertility and even death if left untreated.
Chlamydia: This is the most common STI in the world and, if not treated in time, can cause damage to the reproductive system and eventually lead to infertility – and even blindness.
HPV:About 80% of sexually active men and women will be infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) at some point. Fortunately, in most cases, our immune systems will take care of the problem.
Syphilis:This is one of the most common STIs. Although it can be successfully treated with antibiotics, it has not been eradicated by any means and it is the STI most men get and carry without knowing they have it. Most guys haven’t ever heard of this disease, yet many will get it at some stage in their lives without even knowing it.
Hepatitis B: Currently about 350 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis B, a disease that is spread mainly by sexual contact.
Genital herpes: It might not kill you, but once you’re infected, there’s no getting rid of it. Herpes can be managed but once you have it, it’s with you until death do you part.
Zika: There is a lot of ignorance and confusion about Zika virus disease. The virus is primarily transferred by mosquito bites, but can also be passed on through sexual intercourse. Zika is serious as it causes developmental deformities in the unborn.