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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

SOUTH AFRICA: Experts Recommend Schools Provide Sex Education


Business Day (Johannesburg) (04.17.12) - Wednesday, April 18,

Researchers in education, HIV/AIDS, and adolescence say public dialogue about how best to teach sex education is needed in South Africa.

A qualitative study by experts from the University of Cambridge, Human Sciences Research Council and Aga Kahn University examined the views of primary school students and teachers in South Africa, as well as in Kenya and Tanzania. The youths were far more willing to talk about the risks and role of sex than the adults believed, but an approach of protecting children's innocence by withholding information could put them at risk, the experts found.

South African children who face HIV risk are very much left to their own devices, said Dr. Ariane De Lannoy, a University of Cape Town sociologist. Though schools may not be the best site for educating youths on sex and HIV/AIDS, the role they play in general education makes them necessary for teaching safe and healthy behaviors, said Dr. Colleen McLaughlin, deputy head of education at Cambridge.


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