Independent online, 25 October 2002, 'Today's virgins, tomorrow's Aids victims'
Most South African teenagers have sex for the first time at the age of 14 or 15 and half of all today's 15-year-olds in
This was the grim picture painted at a seminar hosted on Thursday in
The meeting was also told that although
Social Development and Welfare Minister Zola Skweyiya told the meeting that although fertility had declined, a high birth rate still appeared to be a demographic reality in certain developing areas. At the same time, teenage pregnancies remained a huge problem, especially in poor and disadvantaged communities.
Dr Kim Eva, from the
Eva said adolescent fertility trends in
She said while the country's total fertility rate of 2,9 births per woman was estimated to be one of the lowest in sub-Saharan region, childbearing levels for South African adolescents did not appear to be changing.
Adolescent childbearing was still significantly high, she said, adding that teenage pregnancies represented one third of all births. However, she said another difference between
Other research findings included that the high pregnancy rate among teenagers may be caused by a combination of factors, including low contraceptive use and high sexual activity among children at a younger age. Most of the youngsters interviewed said they were having sex at the age of 13 or 14.
Senior research scientist Professor Barbara Anderson, from the