News / Africa

Safe Sex Classes Help Pre-Teens Avoid Risky Behavior

Course effectiveness shown in South Africa townships

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

South African sixth graders who took Western-style sex education classes were less likely to have unprotected sex, according to new research.
South African sixth graders who took Western-style sex education classes were less likely to have unprotected sex, according to new research.

New research suggests brief sex education courses reduce risky sexual behaviors — and the threat of sexually transmitted disease — among South African sixth graders.

Researchers had wondered whether a curriculum based on a Western model might seem irrelevant to kids in poor township schools.

What they found is that those who took the sex education class reported they were less likely to have unprotected sex during the following year, according to lead researcher John Jemmott of the University of Pennsylvania.

"In addition, we reduced recent sex — that is, sex in the past three months — and the incidence of multiple partners — reporting that you had two partners in the past three months," Jemmott said. "And unprotected sex as well as multiple partners are important risk factors for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV."

Jemmott and his colleagues conducted the study in South Africa's Eastern Cape province, among sixth-graders in urban schools in Mdantsane and rural schools in Berlin, near East London.

Students attended six two-hour sessions aimed at reducing sexual risk behaviors using role-playing, games, and discussions. A matching group of students was the control: they took a similar course focusing on other health issues.

The youngsters in the study were typically around 12, but some were as young as nine. Jemmott says that's not too young for sex education.

"You want to begin at the earliest possible time, so we did want to begin with young people and talk to them about practicing safer sex or abstinence as a way to prevent sexually transmitted infections, particularly HIV," he said in a telephone interview.

The impact can be seen in the numbers: about four percent of the children in the control group said they had sexual intercourse in the following year, about twice as many as those who had the sex education course.

University of Pennsylvania researcher John Jemmott says there has been skepticism about the effectiveness of a course developed for use in the very different American culture. But he says this study indicates it can have an impact. "And there've been questions about whether these theories — which some would say are Western theories — would apply in southern Africa. And this study suggests they would apply."

Jemmott's study is published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, a journal published by the American Medical Association.  

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid