African Health Sciences
Makerere University Medical School
Vol. 20, No. 1, 2020, pp. 28-38
Bioline Code: hs20006
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge
African Health Sciences, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2020, pp. 28-38
© Copyright 2020 - Mostert K et al.
Sexual knowledge and practice of adolescent learners in a rural South African school|
Mostert, Karien; Sethole, Khethiwe M; Khumisi, Oumiki; Peu, Dorrica; Thambura, Julius; Ngunyulu, Roinah N & Mulaudzi, Mavis F
Background: Premature sexual activity has become a norm in South African society, often resulting in teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Occurrence of premature sexual activity is related to insufficient education, gender inequalities, household poverty and place of residence. The Stepping Stones project uses a 10-session programme to educate learners about relationships, HIV-prevention and teenage pregnancy. The purpose was to measure and describe learners’ sexual knowledge and activities in a rural technical secondary school in North-west Province, South Africa.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey. Questionnaires were distributed to learners in grade 8 to 12. Descriptive statistics was used in analysis.
Results: Seventy-nine questionnaires were analysed. Despite a young sample, 26.6% were sexually active and 24.1% engaged in sexual activity. The mean age for first-time sexual intercourse was 15.2±2.3 years. The use of contraceptives was low (41.2%) and participants reported difficulty in talking to partners about condom use (54.8%). Almost half (45.5%) of the participants had never heard of STDs. Participants expressed a need to use social media as a sex education tool (12.3%). The primary source of information was from school-based programmes (58.0%).
Conclusion: Findings point to unsafe sexual practice of learners at a school in rural South Africa, even from an early age. This concern is accompanied by the occurrence of low levels of sexually-related knowledge. The learners would benefit from continued implementation of the Stepping Stones programme. Implementation could be improved by incorporating social media and emphasising gender equality and negotiation skills in sexually vulnerable situations.
Sexual knowledge; adolescent learners; South Africa.