Many South African children are having sex for the first time when they are between the ages of 14 and 15, according to a newspaper report.
The Star reported that a Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) study suggested that parents talk to their children about sexuality from the age of five.
It also revealed that out of the children that were sexually active, barely half used a condom when they last had sex. The research further showed that silence on sexual issues by key figures generated misconceptions and myths, further contributing to risky sexual practices.
The HSRC recommended that the basic education curriculum be amended to include accurate and comprehensive information.
About 2000 children and their parents were interviewed in the Western Cape, Limpopo, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal for the study.
Only 49% of the children said they used a condom when they last had sex. More than half said their parents had no knowledge of their sexual activity.
(Sapa, September 2011)