The influence of HIV/AIDS awareness on the sexual practices of secondary school students in Nyando Division of Western Kenya
Tindi, Martin O
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There are increased cases of HIV / AIDS infections among the youths of Kenya despite the efforts that are being made to control its prevalence. This study was, therefore, designed to answer the following questions: To what extent are secondary school students in Nyando division aware of the HIV / AIDS pandemic? How does the level of awareness on HIV / AIDS influence the sexual practices of these students? Accordingly, the overall objective of this study was to understand the influence of HIV/AIDS awareness on the sexual practices among secondary school students in the study area. The specific objectives of the research were to determine the level of awareness on HIV/AIDS among secondary school students in the study area, and to establish how the level of awareness on HIV / AIDS influences the sexual practices of these students. Data were collected using the survey method, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. In total, ninety students drawn from different schools in the division were subjected to a structured questionnaire. In each of the sampled schools, one focus group discussion was held. Every focus group discussion comprised eight to ten participants obtained from form two to four students. Key informants were subjected to in-depth interviews on the topic of HIV / AIDS and secondary school students. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used in the analysis of the quantitative data collected through survey method. The data were categorized, arranged and summarized and presented using tabulations, pie charts and bar graphs. On the other hand, qualitative data collected through focus group discussions and key informant interviews, were analysed thematically. Content analysis, direct quotations and selected comments from the informants were used to present the findings. The findings suggest that a majority of the students are aware of the HIV / AIDS, its mode of transmission, the possible control measures and the people likely to be infected by the virus. On the contrary, the study also revealed that some of the students do not believe that they are vulnerable to the infection and instead pointed fingers at prostitutes as the most vulnerable group. Some of them have multiple sexual partners and a good proportion acknowledged not using condoms during sexual intercourse. The study, therefore, came to conclusion that the students are adequately aware of HIV/AIDS but that the awareness does not have much influence on their sexual practices. Other factors such as peer pressure, material gains and the mass media have more influence on the sexual practices of a majority of the students in the study area.