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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848

Health SA Gesondheid (Online) vol.17 n.1 Cape Town  2012




HIV and AIDS knowledge and sexual behaviours amongst secondary school learners in Harare, Zimbabwe



Margaret Mlingo; Valerie J. Ehlers; Janetta Roos

Department of Health Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa





Efforts to stem the tide of the Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic in Africa emphasise the necessity that learners should be able to make informed decisions. Although learners in Zimbabwe's schools are taught about HIV and AIDS, the extent of their knowledge needed to be determined. The major objective was to assess the knowledge of secondary school learners in Harare, Zimbabwe, about HIV and AIDS. Structured interviews were conducted with 75 Grade 8 (Form 1) secondary school learners from four schools in Harare.
Most learners had obtained their HIV and AIDS knowledge from schools, but some did so from their parents, community activities, the radio or television. No learner had commenced with sexual activities and all had heard about HIV, but not all knew what HIV was, and even fewer could define AIDS. Less than one-third of the learners could mention the three most important HIV preventive measures. Most learners were willing to undergo voluntary counselling and testing (VCT), but few had done so. As no learner had commenced sexual activities, opportunities existed to empower Grade 8 (Form 1) learners with adequate HIV and AIDS knowledge. Generally the learners' HIV and AIDS knowledge levels were high but some misconceptions existed. Schools should engage with radio and television programmes to address misconceptions about HIV and AIDS. Learners should be enabled to access VCT services. More effective HIV prevention education in Zimbabwe's schools, could enable more youth to remain HIV negative.


Pogings om die Menslike Immuniteitsgebrekvirus (MIV) en Verworwe immuniteits-gebreksindroom (VIGS) pandemiese golf in Afrika te stuit, beklemtoon die noodsaaklikheid dat leerders ingeligte besluite moet kan neem. Alhoewel leerders in Zimbabwe se skole onderrig word oor MIV en VIGS, behoort die omvang van die kennis vasgestel te word. Die hoofdoelwit was om sekondêre skool leerders van Harare, Zimbabwe, se MIV en VIGS kennis te bepaal. Gestruktureerde onderhoude is gevoer met 75 Graad 8 (Vorm 1) sekondêre skool leerders van vier skole in Harare.
Die meeste leerders het hulle MIV and VIGS kennis by skole opgedoen terwyl 'n paar dit van hulle ouers, gemeenskapsaktiwiteite, die radio en televisie gekry het. Geen leerders het met seksuele aktiwiteite begin nie, almal het van MIV gehoor, maar nie almal het geweet wat MIV is nie, en nog minder kon VIGS definieer. Minder as een-derde kon die drie belangrikste MIV voorkomende maatreëls noem. Die meeste leerders was gewillig om vrywillige berading en toetsing (VBT) te ondergaan, maar min het dit reeds gedoen.
Aangesien geen leerder seksueel aktief was nie, bestaan geleenthede om Graad 8 (Vorm 1) leerders te bemagtig om ingeligte besluite te neem. Oor die algemeen was die leerders se MIV en VIGS kennisvlakke hoog, maar wanopvattings het bestaan Skole behoort saam te werk met radio en televisie programme ten einde wanopvattings aan te spreek. Leerders moet in staat gestel word om VBT dienste te benut. Doeltreffender MIV en VIGS voorligting in Zimbabwe se skole, kan meer jong mense in staat stel of HIV negatief te bly.



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Valerie Ehlers
PO Box 65075
Erasmusrand 0165
South Africa

Received: 26 July 2010
Accepted: 28 Mar. 2012
Published: 13 July 2012

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