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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. Coming of age in the classroom: religious and cultural barriers to comprehensive sexuality education

    This paper elucidates evidence which underscores anxieties and panic about sexuality and sexual behaviour of young people influenced by movements advancing a distinct religious identity, and the implications for advocacy on advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Synthesised in this document is evidence from two countries - Bangladesh and India - on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), an area of controversy (to varying degree) in both countries. Evidence from each country stem from national studies on the influence of religion on CSE, and are qualitative in nature. …

  2. Charting the future: empowering girls to prevent early pregnancy

    This report begins with a situation analysis of adolescent pregnancy (Section 2), highlighting where today’s adolescents live and where their fertility levels are highest, as well as looking at the drivers of their fertility rates. Section 3 provides a more detailed discussion of the multiple barriers that girls face in controlling their fertility. Section 4 presents our conclusions about the main drivers of adolescent pregnancy and introduces our policy and programming recommendations, which can be found in Section 5. …

  3. An examination of knowledge, attitudes and practices related to HIV/AIDS prevention in Zimbabwean university students: Comparing intervention program participants and non-participants

    OBJECTIVES: This study represents a comprehensive assessment of differences between participants in an HIV/AIDS prevention program (SHAPE: Sustainability, Hope, Action, Prevention, Education) and non-participants in knowledge, attitudes and practices with a focus on cultural, sociological and economic variables. METHODS: We developed an eight-page questionnaire that was administered to 933 randomly selected students at the University of Zimbabwe. Survey items addressed sexual decision-making, condom use, limiting sexual partners, cultural power dynamics and access to HIV testing. …

  4. Adapting a multifaceted U.S. HIV prevention education program for girls in Ghana

    We adapted a U.S. HIV prevention program to address knowledge gaps and cultural pressures that increase the risk of infection in adolescent Ghanaian girls. The theory-based nine-module HIV prevention program combines didactics and games, an interactive computer program about sugar daddies, and tie-and-dye training to demonstrate an economic alternative to transactional sex. The abstinence-based study was conducted in a church-affiliated junior secondary school in Nsawam, Ghana. Of 61 subjects aged 10-14 in the prevention program, over two thirds were very worried about becoming HIV infected. …

  5. Efficacy of an American alcohol and hiv prevention curriculum adapted for use in South Africa: results of a pilot study in five township schools

    The high prevalence of HIV among young people in African countries underscores a pressing need for effective prevention interventions. Adapting school–based prevention programs developed in the United States for use in African schools may present an alternative to the time–consuming process of developing home–grown programs. The researchers report the results of a pretest–posttest field trial of an alcohol/ HIV prevention curriculum adapted from an American model and delivered to ninth-grade students in five South African township schools. …

  6. Gender Dynamics and Sexual Norms among Youth in Mali in the Context of HIV/AIDS Prevention

    Socially constructed ideas of gender norms and values attached to sexuality need to be considered when aiming to build the young people’s capacity to adopt HIV preventive behaviours. We conducted ten focus groups and sixteen individual interviews to explore sexual norms among youth in Bamako. Premarital sex, multiple partnering, condom use and transactional sex were discussed. The findings suggest that young people’s sexual norms are shaped by kin or authoritative elders as well as by external influences coming from Western culture. …

  7. Condoms in sub-Saharan Africa

    Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is the region with the world’s highest rates of HIV and other sexually transmissible infections (STIs), yet numerous studies show that condom use is generally rare. This suggests a need for a better understanding of how condoms fit within sexual practices and relationships in SSA. This paper seeks to address this need by reviewing research published between the late 1980s and 2011 on use and factors influencing use of male condoms in SSA. …

  8. Dating and sex among emerging adults in Nepal

    Social and cultural changes in Nepal, including better communication facilities and transport, more urbanization and a rising age at which people marry, have created more opportunities for young people for “dating.” This qualitative study explores whether the existence of dating cultures influences young people’s sexual behavior in Nepal. Focus group discussions with a total of 75 participants and 31 in-depth individual interviews were conducted among young people in Nepal. Most urban and rural young people liked the dating culture. …

  9. Customary adolescent sexual practices among the Akha of northern Lao PDR: considerations for public health

    Based on interviews and focus group discussions conducted in northern Laos, this study explores Akha understandings of customary first pre-pubertal sex acts, a thonh thong (‘break through vagina’ [BV]) for girls and yaha heu (‘open foreskin’ [OF]) for boys, which are thought to enable the maturing of bodies into adulthood. The study also examines the practice of a thor ta yang (‘Welcome Guest’) in which sexually initiated girls have sex with male visitors to Akha villages. The study found that many young women experience BV as painful and traumatic. …

  10. Maisha Newsletter December 2011

    Maisha+ focuses on sharing experiences and lessons in reaching out to the hard-to-reach community populations in Sub Saharan African with HIV and AIDS interventions. In this issue: -Towards zero HIV infections, discrimination and AIDS deaths for hard to reach communities -Violence against women contributing to spread of HIV -Supporting Associations of people living with HIV in Uganda -Challenges in addressing traditional beliefs and practices in HIV and AIDS among the Maasai -Working with sexual minorities in Rwanda -Stop the discrimination! -testimony from a victim of assault

  11. Sexuality education approaches: what would be applicable to North of Africa and Middle East?

    In this paper, Middle East and North of Africa are not presented from demographic dimension, rather from cultural one, where the most dominant religion is is Islam. Consequently, the paper will discuss applicability of sex education approaches from Islamic perspectives but within the Middle East and North of Africa context.

  12. Overlooked and at Risk: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in the Caribbean

    As long as criminalization of homosexuality and stigma, discrimination and violence against LGBT individuals continues in the Caribbean, the emotional and physical health of LGBT young people is at risk. All young people have the right to be treated equally under the law and to live free of discrimination and harassment. Organizations, governments, and individuals must work toward full acceptance and recognition of LGBT people, including young people.

  13. Young people's understanding of HIV: a qualitative study among school students in Mankweng, South Africa

    This article describes young people's interpretation of HIV, AIDS and sexually transmitted illness in a rural South African community in Mankweng, Limpopo Province. Method: The study was based on 19 focus group discussions with adolescents aged 12-14 years. Results: Our participants had limited knowledge about HIV from a biomedical perspective. Their understanding and interpretations of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases were largely informed by traditional and religious belief systems that explain how and why people contract an illness via sexual intercourse. …

  14. HIV education in South African schools: the dilemma and conflicts of educators

    Educators within the school system are well placed to facilitate the dissemination of knowledge and skills in order for adolescents to be equipped for appropriate sexual decision-making. The aim of this research was to provide an understanding of educators' beliefs, attitudes and behaviours with regard to sexual and reproductive health promotion. Methods: Individual interviews were conducted with 15 educators from demographically diverse high schools in the Western Cape. One-off interviews were conducted with Grade 8 Life Orientation educators and principals. …

  15. I am not "umqwayito'': a qualitative study of peer pressure and sexual risk behaviour among young adolescents in Cape Town, South Africa

    Young people in South Africa are susceptible to HIV infection. They are vulnerable to peer pressure to have sex, but little is known about how peer pressure operates. The aim of the study was to understand how negative peer pressure increases high risk sexual behaviour among young adolescents in Cape Town, South Africa. Qualitative research methods were used. Eight focus groups were conducted with young people between the ages of 13 and 14 years. …

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