Sex: shock findings
HIV/AIDS can be transmitted via toilet seats, and the virus can be avoided by having a bath after sex. Recently concluded research shows that these are some of the common beliefs among teenagers in South Africa.
Last year the church commissioned research aimed at better understanding what its role can be in the battle against HIV/AIDS among young people. The University of Stellenbosch's unit for religious and developmental studies conducted the research among young Anglicans between the ages of 10 and 24, in 12 Anglican dioceses across the country. A report on the research was presented at an HIV/AIDS seminar at the University of Stellenbosch last week.
MORE THAN 10% SEXUALLY ACTIVE
Amongst other things, the research showed that more than 10% of young people between the ages of 10 and 13 are sexually active. About 38% of respondents in this age group said that the pill can prevent HIV, and 30.4% believe that HIV can be transmitted via a toilet seat.
About 27% think that HIV can be prevented by bathing after sex. Of the respondents, 97.1% described themselves as Christians, while more than 98% of them believe it is important to be healthy.
NOTHING WRONG WITH FONDLING
The majority (63.5%) of those who have not yet had sex feel that it is better to have sex only within the confines of marriage, while approximately two-thirds feel that there is nothing wrong with someone fondling them.
The researchers said that some of the more shocking findings, such as those about fondling, could be attributed to respondents misunderstanding the questions.
About 90% of the respondents indicated that they are worried about HIV. According to the report, there is a gap between the values and morals which are adhered to on the one hand, and the behaviour which is exhibited on the other hand. – (Alicestine October/Die Burger, May 2009)
UNSAFE SEX AMONG HIV+ TEENS &NBSP;
As adolescents whose mothers had HIV and who were born with HIV become sexually active, researchers are calling for public health initiatives aimed at preventing them from passing on the virus to their partners.
The recommendation follows an investigation by the Paediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study showing that most such HIV-positive youngsters say they have not yet initiated sexual activity, but those who have say they started early and do not consistently use condoms.
INCONSISTENT CONDOM USE
One third of the sexually active subjects reported at least one instance of unprotected vaginal or anal sex. Furthermore, half of them had detectable levels of HIV in their blood, including all of the four males who reported inconsistent condom use.
The investigators were also surprised to find that all of the sexually active individuals who reported giving or receiving oral sex also reported vaginal or anal sex. "This is contrary to other published and anecdotal evidence that suggests more teens have oral sex rather than penetrative sex, perhaps due to perceptions that it is less risky or more acceptable," Tassiopoulos said. - (Jill Stein/Reuters Health, May 2009)
HIV&Me is a nationwide schools-based HIV/AIDS education and prevention program that focuses on the prevention of HIV/AIDS by empowering educators with a toolkit and language to motivate young people particularly learners between the ages of 12 to 15 to make responsible and informed choices about their health and sexual behaviour and to thus reduce the transmission of HIV and subsequently the incidence of AIDS.
The school context presents an opportunity to help halt the epidemic with targeted prevention strategies. HIV&Me provides educational tools and materials that integrate scientific and social aspects of the epidemic and encourage pupils” active participation in the learning process. The program also aims to address the challenges teachers face in addressing HIV/AIDS in their classrooms.