An HIV/AIDS prevention intervention among high school learners in South Africa.
Frank, Serena V.
MetadataShow full item record
Introduction Nearly half of all new HIV infections worldwide occur in young people aged 15-24 years. Risky sexual behaviours may lead to the development of lifelong negative habits like having multiple partners, thereby placing young people at risk of a broad range of health problems, including HIV/AIDS. Prevention is therefore critical and includes changing behaviours that are risky, such as the early age of sexual initiation, having many sexual partners and non-use of condoms. The study aimed to evaluate whether a theory based HIV/AIDS intervention, 'Be A Responsible Teenager' (B.A.R.T.), could produce behaviour change among high school learners in South Africa. Methods A pre-test /multiple post-test intervention study was undertaken. All Grade 10 learners (n = 805) from all three public high schools in Wentworth were included in the study. Eleven teachers were interviewed from these schools. Learners completed a questionnaire at baseline (Tl), immediately post intervention 1 (T2), post intervention 2 (T3) and after a period of seven months (T4). The B.A.R.T.intervention was implemented in the intervention schools while the control group did not receive any intervention. Qualitative data was analyzed according to themes, while quantitative data was analyzed cross sectionally and longitudinally. Results Teachers reported many obstacles in implementing the HIV/AIDS Life Skills' curriculum, including the poor quality of training and inadequate resources in schools. Further, learners practised high-risk sexual behaviours. Gender differences in sexual behaviour were reported with males predominately practising higher risk behaviours than females.The B.A.R.T. intervention did show changes in behaviour for alcohol use at last sex and for the determinants knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, self-efficacy and intentions to practise safer sex respectively, over time. However, the intervention didnot positively impact abstinence behaviours, condom use and the reduction in partners. Further, subjective norms did not change. Conclusion The major obstacles to AIDS prevention include the current practices of risky sexual behaviours including age mixing, early sexual initiation, multiple partners, forced sex and receiving money or gifts for sex among others. Social norms as potrayed by parents, peers and religious groups play a pivotal role in promoting protective sexual behaviours. The role of gender and the gaps in LHAP (Life Skills' HIV/AIDS programme) also require urgent attention.