A review of the impact of an HIV/AIDS education programme, implemented through an integrated approach in the mainstream curriculum, at a secondary school in the KwaZulu Natal north coast region.
Moodley, Rajendra Mogambrey.
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The school focused in this study is involved in promoting HIV/AIDS education among learners. Past attempts at HIV/AIDS education took the form of assembly talks and special assembly programmes which, unfortunately, yielded limited success. In response to this, a grade eight HIV/AIDS education programme, integrated into the mainstream curriculum, was developed and implemented. The HIV/AIDS education programme cuts across different learning areas and its impact on learners is the focus of this study. The study undertaken is located in a constructivist paradigm and draws largely upon qualitative research methods. However, the use of quantitative data has also been crucial in supporting the findings of the research. Research participants included a stratified sample of grade eight learners who were involved in the programme, educators who were engaged in the development and implementation of the programme, learners on the school's HIV/AIDS Committee, the Life Skills co-ordinator of the school and social workers who supported the programme. In view of the sensitivity surrounding various HIV/AIDS issues. this study draws special attention to ethical issues that impact on the research procedures adopted. Evidence from this research indicates that the implementation of the grade eight HIV/AIDS programme has substantially improved the acquisition of HIV/AlDS knowledge by learners who were engaged in the programme. The impact of the programme on high-risk behaviour is difficult to ascertain in the absence of longitudinal studies. However, the majority of learners have responded positively to the programme and emerging learner attitudes appear to be favourable to the promotion of behaviour patterns that are supportive of the prevention of HIV-infection. This study suggests that, in the quest to improve the effectiveness of HIV/ AIDS education, the programme in focus needs to engage more seriously with gender and cultural issues. The grade eight HIV/AlDS programme lends itself to further modification and this study recommends that the scope of stakeholder participation be broadened, particularly with regard to parental involvement.