Exploring the perceptions and experiences of students towards HIV/AIDS peer education programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus.
Mazibuko, Happiness Nokukhanya.
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The use of peer educators has often been exploited to educate people and prevent the spread of HIV as well as other sexually transmitted infections. The importance of a well-grounded and sound sexuality health education cannot be over emphasised. As this does not only help to prevent sexually transmitted diseases or unwarranted pregnancy among the youth population but helps to educate the young and save them from the consequences of their ignorance. This study adopted a cross sectional quantitative approach to explore the perceptions and experiences of students towards HIV/AIDS peer education program. This survey involved the use of questionnaires to gather information or data about students’ perceptions, attitudes, and behaviours. A total of 242 university (post-graduate and undergraduate) students were enrolled. The results of this study show that the overall mean perception score towards HIV/AIDS peer educators is 62.0 ± 7.4, the minimum score is 31.0 and the maximum score is 75.0 respectively. From the obtained results, participant perception score towards HIV/AIDS peer educators can be said to be quite impressive. The results obtained in this study show that there exists a significant correlation (p<0.05) in all three categories of students’ perception to HIV peer education program. It was observed in the study that the age group 18 – 23 had the highest perception about HIV peer educators. It was also observed that the enrolled participants had a good perception about peer educators as role models, importance of peer education in information dissemination and incorporation of peer education into a university setting. Peer education involving young people has helped to educate the interested ones on issues relating to HIV/AIDS and evidence has shown that peer educators have a strong influence on their peers. Furthermore, conclusion and recommendations were drawn from this study.