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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. ‘… 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. …

  2. 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. …

  3. Life orientation sexuality education in South Africa: Gendered norms, justice and transformation

    Research on sexual practices among young South Africans has proliferated in light of the national imperatives to challenge the spread of HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence and unwanted early pregnancies. It has been widely acknowledged that, in order to respond to these social problems, we need to understand the enmeshment of gender, class, age and other forms of social inequality, and how these are played out in ‘normal’ heterosexual relationships.

  4. The shrinking world of girls at puberty: violence and gender-divergent access to the public sphere among adolescents in South Africa

    Participatory mapping was undertaken with single-sex groups of grade 5 and grade 8–9 children in KwaZulu-Natal. Relative to grade 5 students, wide gender divergence in access to the public sphere was found at grade 8–9. With puberty, girls' worlds shrink, while boys' expand. At grade 5, female-defined community areas were equal or larger in size than those of males. Community area mapped by urban grade 8–9 girls, however, was only one-third that of male classmates and two-fifths that of grade 5 girls. Conversely, community area mapped by grade 8–9 boys was twice that of grade 5 boys. …

  5. 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). …

  6. Inviting Backchat: How schools and communities in Ghana, Swaziland and Kenya support children to contextualise knowledge and create agency through sexuality education

    Education about sex, relationships and HIV and AIDS in African contexts is riddled with socio-cultural complexity. In this paper the authors argue that in extreme contexts education can lead change further by developing young people as significant actors in their own lives and in the lives of the community by bringing about change in attitudes in the community, as well as practices in schools. …

  7. ‘‘AIDS is rape!’’ Gender and sexuality in children’s responses to HIV and AIDS

    This paper examines young African school children’s understanding of HIV and AIDS. Based on focus group interviews with children aged 7–8 in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa, it explores the ways in which gender and sexuality feature in their responses to the disease. Data were collected between 2003 and 2004 through 26 focus groups involving 55 boys and 64 girls. The paper argues that younger children are active agents in giving meaning to the disease. …

  8. If I buy the Kellogg’s then he should [buy] the milk: young women’s perspectives on relationship dynamics, gender power and HIV risk in Johannesburg, South Africa

    Ideals of masculinity and femininity may limit South African women's decision making power in relationships and increase their risk of HIV infection. The authors conducted 30 in-depth interviews with 18-24-year-old women in inner-city Johannesburg with the aim of understanding young women's expectations of intimate relationships with men, their perceptions of gender and power and how this influences HIV risk. …

  9. Postgraduate educational research on violence, gender, and HIV/AIDS in and around schools (1995-2004)

    Social issues such as HIV/AIDS, bullying, and violence have recently come to the fore in schooling and related research in South Africa. This article describes and critically analyses Masters and Ph.D. research done in education in the period 1995–2004, with particular reference to the voice given to social issues, namely: gender, violence, and HIV/AIDS and their interconnectedness. It explores issues, trends, and patterns in research emerging in the first decade of democracy in South Africa.

  10. National cross sectional study of views on sexual violence and risk of HIV infection and AIDS among South African school pupils

    Objective: To investigate the views of school pupils on sexual violence and on the risk of HIV infection and AIDS and their experiences of sexual violence. Design: National cross sectional study. Setting: 5162 classes in 1418 South African schools. Participants: 269 705 school pupils aged 10-19 years in grades 6-11. Main outcome measure: Answers to questions about sexual violence and about the risk of HIV infection and AIDS. Results: Misconceptions about sexual violence were common among both sexes, but more females held views that would put them at high risk of HIV infection. …

  11. Masculinities and condom use patterns among young rural South Africa men: a cross-sectional baseline survey

    Notions of ideal manhood in South Africa are potentially prescriptive of male sexuality thus accounting for the behaviors which may lead to men being at greater HIV risk. We tested the hypothesis that gender and relationship constructs are associated with condom use among young men living in rural South Africa. 1219 men aged 15–26 years completed a cross-sectional baseline survey from an IsiXhosa questionnaire asking about sexual behaviour and relationships. …

  12. 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. …

  13. Gender and sexuality: emerging perspectives from the heterosexual epidemic in South Africa and implications for HIV risk and prevention

    Research shows that gender power inequity in relationships and intimate partner violence places women at enhanced risk of HIV infection. Men who have been violent towards their partners are more likely to have HIV. Men's behaviours show a clustering of violent and risky sexual practices, suggesting important connections. This paper draws on Raewyn Connell's notion of hegemonic masculinity and reflections on emphasized femininities to argue that these sexual, and male violent, practices are rooted in and flow from cultural ideals of gender identities. …

  14. Dating violence among school students in Tanzania and South Africa: prevalence and socio-demographic variations

    Aims: To identify with whom in-school adolescents preferred to communicate about sexuality, and to study adolescents' communication on HIV/AIDS, abstinence and condoms with parents/guardians, other adult family members, and teachers. Data were obtained from a baseline questionnaire survey carried out in South Africa (Cape Town and Mankweng) and Tanzania (Dar es Salaam) in early 2004. We analysed data for 14,944 adolescents from 80 randomly selected schools. …

  15. Non-consensual sex, school enrolment and education outcomes in South Africa

    Sexual violence is a significant problem in South Africa. Such encounters bring psychological trauma, social stigma, and the risk of pregnancy, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Existing qualitative research indicates that survivors have difficulty concentrating on school-work, with many reportedly losing interest and some leaving school. The relationship between these experiences and school enrolment and educational attainment has not been quantified in sub-Saharan Africa. …

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