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School dropouts are more vulnerable to HIV
2010-02-02

 Prof. Dennis Francis

Children who drop out of school miss out on information about HIV/Aids and reproduction health, according to research conducted by Prof. Dennis Francis, Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State.

The research entitled “Towards understanding the way out-of-school youth respond to HIV/Aids” included out-of-school youths as researchers and identified key issues and problems facing them. It covered youths between the ages of 14 to 18.

The study, funded by the Medical Research Council of South Africa, showed that schools played a vital role in providing credible information on HIV/Aids and ways to prevent it.

It also found that these out-of-school youths believed that HIV/Aids was a non-issue and deliberately avoided the subject, with boys being the main culprits.

The researchers found that these youths got their information on HIV/Aids from friends, community healthcare workers, religious leaders, family and other youngsters. The way they responded to HIV/Aids varied and often depended on their social context, effects on their self esteem and sense of power, according to Prof. Francis.

They also discovered that knowledge about HIV/Aids did not necessarily translate into action.

“School-going youth displayed similar difficulties in applying knowledge in real-life situations and lacked the tools for doing so,” he said. “But, unlike school-going youth, out-of-school youth did not have the option of using the school environment to speak about misconceptions.”

These finding will be presented at the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation-funded Hope 2010 Conference in India.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
2 February 2010

 

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