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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. Rethinking HIV-prevention for school-going young people based on current behaviour patterns

    The aim of the research was to gain increased knowledge regarding the sexual risk behaviour of school-going young people in South Africa after two decades of HIV-education in schools, to contribute to the development of improved HIV prevention strategies. In collaboration with the Department of Education, a sample of 5305 learners (between 10 and 18 years in Grades 5–12) from high-risk communities were identified. …

  2. Picture that: supporting sexuality educators in narrowing the knowledge/practice gap

    Teaching about sex and relationships is one of the greatest challenges in not only the combating of HIV and AIDS, but also in preparing the youth for responsible sexual behaviour. Although it seems as if teachers to some extent do feel comfortable with the teaching of sexuality education at school, the question however remains as to whether youth get the information they require. In this article, are presented drawings produced by teacher participants in order to investigate the beliefs that teachers hold regarding young people’s needs from sexuality education. …

  3. Learners’ perspectives on the provision of condoms in South African public schools

    A stubborn health challenge for learners in South African public schools concerns sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). In 2015, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) proposed the provision of condoms and SRHR-services to learners in schools. This study aimed to contribute to the finalisation and implementation of DBE’s policy by exploring learners’ perspectives on the provision of condoms and SRHR-services in schools. …

  4. ‘… a huge monster that should be feared and not done’: Lessons learned in sexuality education classes in South Africa

    Research has foregrounded the way in which heterosexual practices for many young people are not infrequently bound up with violence and unequal transactional power relations. The Life Orientation sexuality education curriculum in South African schools has been viewed as a potentially valuable space to work with young people on issues of reproductive health, gender and sexual norms and relations. …

  5. Accessing the ‘right’ kinds of material and symbolic capital: the role of cash transfers in reducing adolescent school absence and risky behaviour in South Africa

    This article investigates how well South Africa’s Child Support Grant (CSG) responds to the material and psychosocial needs of adolescents, and the resultant effects on schooling and risky behaviour. One driver of schooling decisions is shame related to poverty and the ‘social cost’ of school, where a premium must often be paid for fashionable clothes or accessories. The other driver relates to symbolic and consumptive capital gained through engaging in sexual exchange relationships. The anticipated impacts from the CSG are partial because of these non-material drivers of adolescent choices. …

  6. When caring is not enough: The limits of teachers’ support for South African primary school-girls in the context of sexual violence

    Between 2011 and 2012, 40.1% of all sexual offences in South Africa involved children under 18. Important scholarship has demonstrated how large-scale social and economic inequalities structure African girls’ risk to and experience of sexual violence leading to a condemnation of violent masculinities and the social processes that produce it. Under conditions of chronic poverty and unstable living conditions, girls’ vulnerability to sexual violence is increased. …

  7. Designing an effective sexuality education curriculum for schools: lessons gleaned from the South(ern) African literature

    Sexuality education forms part of the national school curricula of most sub-Saharan African countries, yet risk-related sexual behaviour among young people continues to fuel the HIV pandemic in this part of the world. One of the arguments put forward to explain why sexuality education seems to have had little impact on sexual risk-taking is that existing curricula have neglected to take into account the complexity of the social, cultural and gender norms that influence the behaviour of school-going young people in sub-Saharan Africa. …

  8. Creating Futures: lessons from the development of a livelihood-strengthening curriculum for young people in eThekwini's informal settlements

    Comprehending praxis is a critical step in developing interventions that can have a real-world impact on people's lives. In this paper, we reflect on the lessons learned in the development of a curriculum for young people living in informal settlements in eThekwini, who are exposed to numerous vulnerabilities, including HIV-related risks associated with precarious urban livelihoods. Behavioural interventions have not led to commensurate reductions in HIV incidence, and the impact of these approaches remains regulated by numerous contextual conditions affecting those participating. …

  9. Sexuality educators: taking a stand by participating in research

    Life Orientation teachers play a critical role in the teaching and learning of sexuality education in South African schools. Using an experiential participatory approach with 125 teachers in the Motheo district, Free State, I explored three questions: What messages did the teachers learn about sex and sexuality? How do these messages inform the teachers’ values? How do the teachers teach sexuality education? Despite its own problems and limitations, the participatory approach exploits and reinforces the life-space model proposed by Kurt Lewin. …

  10. Promoting sexual and reproductive health among adolescents in southern and eastern Africa (PREPARE): project design and conceptual framework

    Background: Young people in sub-Saharan Africa are affected by the HIV pandemic to a greater extent than young people elsewhere and effective HIV-preventive intervention programmes are urgently needed. The present article presents the rationale behind an EU-funded research project (PREPARE) examining effects of community-based (school delivered) interventions conducted in four sites in sub-Saharan Africa. One intervention focuses on changing beliefs and cognitions related to sexual practices (Mankweng, Limpopo, South Africa). …

  11. Early adolescent pregnancy increases risk of incident HIV infection in the Eastern Cape, South Africa: a longitudinal study

    INTRODUCTION: Adolescents having unprotected heterosexual intercourse are at risk of HIV infection and unwanted pregnancy. However, there is little evidence to indicate whether pregnancy in early adolescence increases the risk of subsequent HIV infection. In this paper, we tested the hypothesis that adolescent pregnancy (aged 15 or younger) increases the risk of incident HIV infection in young South African women. …

  12. Commentary: Innovations in Programming for HIV Among Adolescents: Towards an AIDS-Free Generation

    In the effort to halt and reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS among adolescents, public health and medical experts, moral and political authorities across the globe have implemented a combination of interventions. …

  13. Implementation of adolescent-friendly voluntary medical male circumcision using a school based recruitment program in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

    Background: Epidemiological data from South Africa demonstrate that risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in males increases dramatically after adolescence. Targeting adolescent HIV-negative males may be an efficient and cost-effective means of maximising the established HIV prevention benefits of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in high HIV prevalence–, low circumcision practice–settings. This study assessed the feasibility of recruiting male high school students for VMMC in such a setting in rural KwaZulu-Natal. …

  14. Cash plus care: social protection cumulatively mitigates HIV-risk behaviour among adolescents in South Africa

    Objectives: It is not known whether cumulative ‘cash plus care’ interventions can reduce adolescent HIV-infection risks in sub-Saharan Africa. This study investigated whether parental AIDS and other environmental adversities increase adolescent HIVrisk behaviour and whether social protection provision of ‘cash’ or integrated ‘cash plus care’ reduces HIV-risk behaviour. Design: A prospective observational study with random sampling (<2.5% baseline refusal, 1-year follow-up, 96.8% retention). …

  15. Child-focused state cash transfers and adolescent risk of HIV infection in South Africa: a propensity-score-matched case-control study

    Background: Effective and scalable HIV prevention for adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa is needed. Cash transfers can reduce HIV incidence through reducing risk behaviours. However, questions remain about their effectiveness within national poverty-alleviation programmes, and their effects on different behaviours in boys and girls. Methods: In this case-control study, we interviewed South African adolescents (aged 10–18 years) between 2009 and 2012. …

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