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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. Gender and sexual vulnerability of young women in Africa: experiences of young girls in secondary schools in Uganda

    Sexuality is part and parcel of students' experiences of schooling manifested in personal friendships, relations and social interaction. These encounters constitute sites within which sexual identities are developed, practiced and actively produced through processes of negotiation. Drawing on qualitative research conducted in 14 selected secondary schools in Central and Western Uganda, the study illuminates gendered sexual vulnerability within patterns of social interaction and young girls gendered experiences and negotiation of their sexuality. …

  2. Education and risky sex in Africa: Unraveling the link between women’s education and reproductive health behaviors in Kenya

    Much research attention has been devoted to understanding the relationship between education and riskier sex-related behaviors and HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. While in the early 1990s researchers found that increases in education were associated with a higher incidence of HIV/AIDS, this relationship appears to have reversed and better educated people, especially women, appear less likely to engage in riskier sex-related behaviors and have a lower incidence rate of HIV/AIDS. …

  3. Working with transgender children and their classmates in pre-adolescence: Just be supportive

    This study documents a school district’s coordinated response to an elementary student’s social transition from a gender variant boy to a female gender expression. Data were gathered through analysis of journal entries, lesson plans, and interviews with the child, guardian, and district personnel. Stakeholders reported a favorable outlook on the transition, particularly in the areas of classroom and school interventions, peer involvement, and maintaining safety for all. The greatest concerns related to communication and language. …

  4. Embracing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth in school-based settings

    Youth with invisible challenges constitute a special area of concern for child and youth care workers. Youth struggling with gender and sexual orientation are reported to comprise ten percent of our youth population yet they may often be unknown to teachers and other school personnel. These adolescents face unique challenges in developing their identity and gaining social acceptance. This paper explores the challenges faced by these youth, the consequences of underserving this population and proposes some strategies for improving their educational experience.

  5. The importance of addressing gender inequality in efforts to end vertical transmission of HIV

    The recently launched ‘‘Global Plan towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections among Children by 2015 and Keeping their Mothers Alive’’ sets forth ambitious targets that will require more widespread implementation of comprehensive prevention of vertical HIV transmission (PMTCT) programmes. As PMTCT policymakers and implementers work toward these new goals, increased attention must be paid to the role that gender inequality plays in limiting PMTCT programmatic progress. …

  6. They arrested me for loving a schoolgirl: ethnography, HIV, and a feminist assessment of the age of consent law as a gender-based structural intervention in Uganda

    In 1990 women's rights activists in Uganda successfully lobbied to amend the Defilement Law, raising the age of sexual consent for adolescent females from fourteen to eighteen years old and increasing the maximum sentence to death by hanging. The amendment can be considered a macro-level intervention designed to address the social and health inequalities affecting young women and girls, particularly their disproportionately high rate of HIV as compared to their male counterparts. …

  7. Sexuality and the limits of agency among South African teenage women: theorising femininities and their connections to HIV risk practices

    In South Africa, both HIV and gender-based violence are highly prevalent. Gender inequalities give men considerable relational power over young women, particularly in circumstances of poverty and where sex is materially rewarded. Young women are often described as victims of men, but this inadequately explains women's observed sexual agency. This paper takes a different approach. The authors use qualitative interviews and ethnographic observation among 16 young women from the rural Eastern Cape to explore ways young women construct their femininities and exercise agency. …

  8. Programs to address child marriage: Framing the problem

    Child marriage violates girls’ human rights and adversely affects their health and well-being. While age at marriage is increasing in most regions of the developing world, early marriage persists for large populations. Worldwide, it is estimated that more than one out of three women aged 20–24 were married before age 18, and one out of seven were married before age 15. There is great variation in child marriage practices across and within regions and between ethnic and religious groups. Eradicating child marriage has long been on the agenda of the United Nations and of individual countries. …

  9. HIV prevention for South African youth: which interventions work? A systematic review of current evidence

    South Africa's HIV prevalence among 15-24 year olds is one of the highest in the world. This systematic review looks at the evidence for youth HIV prevention in the country since 2000 and critically assesses interventions across four domains: study design and outcomes; intervention design; thematic focus and HIV causal pathways; and intervention delivery. Eight interventions were included in the review, all similar regarding content and objectives, but with variouis thematic foci, causal pathways, theoretical bases, delivery methods, intensity and duration. …

  10. They've Got All the Knowledge: HIV Education, Gender and Sexuality in South African Primary Schools

    Data from two primary schools in Durban, South Africa finds that discussions on gender and sexuality during life skills lessons are not sufficiently in-depth and comprehensive. Teachers find it difficult to provide comprehensive information on sex, sexuality and gender at the primary school level due to discourses on childhood innocence. The paper discusses implications for teacher training in the conclusion.

  11. Knowledge of HIV/AIDS and attitudes towards people living with HIV among the general staff of a public university in Malaysia

    Stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV have been widely documented, and have extended their impact into the workplace. Stigmatising attitudes towards people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the workplace significantly hinder HIV prevention efforts and indirectly affect national development. This cross-sectional study was designed to determine the level of knowledge about HIV and AIDS and assess attitudes towards PLHIV among the general staff of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), as well as to identify factors that are associated with it.

  12. The psychological effect of orphanhood in a matured HIV epidemic: an analysis of young people in Mukono, Uganda

    As the HIV pandemic progresses, the number of orphans is expected to rise. Uganda is one of the countries that has been most impacted by the pandemic. A few studies have explored the effects of orphanhood on psychological well-being; however, most of these studies have not explored potential pathways through which orphanhood could affect psychological well-being. Using a school-based sample, this study sought to examine the differences in depressive symptoms and hopelessness between orphans and non-orphans in Mukono District, Uganda. …

  13. HIV/AIDS, security and conflict: making the connections

    The interconnections between conflict and HIV/AIDS are more complex and less obvious than is often thought. HIV/AIDS affects the lives of many: those people caught up in conflict, those who are the protagonists in conflicts, and those whose role it is to provide security during and after conflict. The AIDS, Security and Conflict Initiative (ASCI) undertook research over a number of years to examine the connections, to gather evidence and to advance analysis. …

  14. Sexual risk among orphaned adolescents: is country-level HIV prevalence an important factor?

    Previous studies from sub-Saharan Africa have found that orphans experience increased sexual risk compared to non-orphans. This article developed a theoretical framework for the investigation of determinants of HIV risk and used it to generate specific hypotheses regarding the effect of country-level HIV prevalence on the sexual risk experience of orphans. It expected that countries with high HIV prevalence would experience a higher prevalence of orphanhood. …

  15. HIV and emergencies: one size does not fit all

    The dynamics and impact of HIV in humanitarian crises are complex. They depend on the kind of crisis: is it the result of conflict, a rapid-onset natural disaster (such as a flood or cyclone), or a slow-onset emergency caused by drought or environmental degradation? It also depends on the HIV prevalence rate before the crisis, the political situation, the scale and duration of the crisis, the existing infrastructure and services and the level of awareness of HIV. Case studies from five countries facing very different emergencies and HIV prevalence rates were backed by a literature review. …

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