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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. Women and girls and HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia

    This document is an assessment of the policy and legal framework protecting the rights of women and girls in Ethiopia and reducing their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS UNFPA has commissioned this study as part of its HIV/AIDS and gender development program. The overall objectives of the study were to: 1. identify gaps in the existing policies and legal frameworks, and offer concrete recommendations to fill the gaps; 2. document the existing policies and legal frameworks, together with references to international instruments; 3. …

  3. 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. …

  4. They are destroying our futures: Sexual violence against girls in Zambia's schools

    This report examines the problem of sexual violence against girls in Zambian schools. In Zambia, many girls are raped, sexually abused, harassed, and assaulted by teachers and male classmates. They are also subjected to sexual harassment and attack while travelling to and from school. Such abuse is a devastating and often overlooked manifestation of the gender-based violence that occurs in numerous settings in Zambia and other countries throughout the world. …

  5. Women's empowerment and choice of contraceptive methods in selected African countries

    Few studies have examined the different dimensions of women's empowerment and contraceptive use in African countries. Data for this study came from the latest round of Demographic and Health Surveys conducted between 2006 and 2008 in Namibia, Zambia, Ghana and Uganda. Responses from married or cohabiting women ages 15–49 were analyzed for six dimensions of empowerment and the current use of female-only methods or couple methods. Bivariate and multivariate multinomial regressions were used to identify associations between the empowerment dimensions and method use. …

  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. Individual and community-level tolerance of spouse abuse and the association with the circumstances of first sex among youth from six sub-Saharan African countries

    Youth who engage in early and premarital sex are at risk of HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Most prevention programs ignore the mediating influence of the threat and experience of violence on these outcomes. Using nationally representative data from Lesotho, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, the autors used multivariate analyses to examine the association between individual- and community-level tolerance of spouse abuse on the age and circumstances of sexual debut among female youth. The youth sample sizes ranged from a high of 5007 in Malawi to a low of 3050 in Lesotho. …

  9. 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. …

  10. Addressing sexual violence and HIV risk among married adolescent girls in rural Nyanza, Kenya

    HIV infection is much higher among adolescent girls in sub-Saharan Africa than among boys. In settings such as Nyanza Province, Kenya, rates of HIV infection are extremely high, and evidence is increasing in some settings that girls who are married are much more likely to be infected with HIV, compared with their unmarried sexually active counterparts. This brief describes a program addressing the problem of sexual violence and the risk of HIV transmission within marriage in Kenya's Nyanza Province. …

  11. Vijana tunaweza Newala: findings from a participatory research and action project in Tanzania

    Globally, girls and young women are more likely to be hiV-positive than their male peers, due in large part to an array of gender inequalities that negatively impact their their mental and physical well being. The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and Taasisi ya Maendeleo Shirikishi Arusha (TAMASHA), in collaboration with Pact Tanzania, developed a participatory research and action project (Vitu Newala) that aimed to both understand and respond to girls’ HIV-related vulnerabilities. …

  12. Keep them in school: the importance of education as a protective factor against HIV infection among young South African women

    This study aimed to identify risk factors for HIV infection among women aged 15-24 years who reported having one lifetime sexual partner in South Africa. A 2003 household survey of 11,904 15-24 year old women on sexual behavior and HIV testing was used. The analysis focuses on a sample of 1,708 women reporting one lifetime partner. Results show that 15% of the women reporting one lifetime partner were HIV positive. In multivariable analysis, completion of high school was associated withábeing HIV-negative (AOR 3.75; 95% CI 1.34-10.46). …

  13. Effects of neighbourhood-level educational attainment on HIV prevalence among young women in Zambia

    This study looked at linkages between neighborhood educational attainment and HIV prevalence among young women in urban and rural areas of Zambia. Using cross-sectional survey data from 2003, 1295 women were identified from 10 urban and 10 rural clusters. A neighbourhood-level educational attainment measure was constructed by aggregating individual-level years in school. Adjustment was made for certain variables (education, currently a student, marital status, ever given birth, sexual activity, lifetime sexual partners). …

  14. Perceptions about sexual abstinence and knowledge of HIV/AIDS prevention among in-school adolescents in a western Nigerian city

    This descriptive, cross-sectional study conducted in Ibadan, South-West Nigeria, explored sexual abstinence practices of in-school adolescents, factors influencing or obstructing abstinence, and knowledge of HIV and AIDS. A multi-stage sampling technique was used to identify 420 respondents who completed a semi-structured questionnaire and participated in focus groups. Eight focus groups were held, with nine participants on average. Qualitative data were transcribed and manually summarized, while the quantitative data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. …

  15. 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.

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