RESEARCH ARTICLE

HIV-Related Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors among Grade 10 Girls and Boys in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal: Cross-Sectional Results

The Open AIDS Journal 18 Sept 2020 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874613602014010075

Abstract

Background:

Young people in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga South Africa are at high risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Therefore, awareness programs are needed to reach these young people and change their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.

Objective:

The objective of this study is to use cross-sectional data from grade 10 female and male learners in randomly assigned intervention and control schools to examine their knowledge, attitudes, and sexual behaviors.

Methods:

Participants, who were in grade 10 in the 2018 school year and attending schools, were randomly assigned to the intervention and control arms for implementation of the Department of Basic Education’s adapted life orientation curriculum that included scripted lesson plans. The study took place in two high HIV prevalence provinces in South Africa. Participants completed self-administered tablet-based surveys and female participants provided a dried blood spot for HIV testing.

Results:

Results demonstrate that two-fifths to one-half of male learners reported being sexually experienced and a quarter (KwaZulu-Natal) to a third (Mpumalanga) of the female learners reported the same. A greater percentage of learners in Mpumalanga reported consistent condom use than learners in KwaZulu-Natal. HIV prevalence among female grade 10 learners in both provinces was about 6-7%. No notable differences were observed between intervention and control school learners on the knowledge, attitudes, and behavior outcomes.

Conclusion:

The findings demonstrate the importance of developing HIV prevention programs for young people in high HIV prevalence provinces since these young people remain at high risk for HIV and other negative outcomes.

Trial Registration:

This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov. The trial registration number is: NCT04205721. The trial was retrospectively registered on December 18, 2019.

Keywords: Adolescents, HIV prevention, South Africa, School-based curriculum, Pregnancy, HIV prevalence.
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