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HIV health literacy, sexual behaviour and self-reports of having tested for HIV among students

Saloshni Naidoo
Myra Taylor


The HIV prevalence among young South African adults makes it important to understand their HIV knowledge, sexual behaviour and HIV counselling and testing (HCT) behaviour in this group. This paper presents the demographics, knowledge, sexual behaviour and cues to action as reported by sexually active students’ who had HCT. A cross-sectional study conducted in 10 high schools in the eThekwini and Ugu districts, KwaZulu-Natal, surveyed students’ HIV knowledge, sexual  behaviour and HCT behaviour. Complete information was available from 1 114 (97.9%) students who participated in the survey. Of these, 378 (33.9%) were sexually active and were included in this analysis. Logistic regression models tested for significant associations between the independent and the dependent variables under study, nesting the students within schools and controlling for age, sex, grade and school location (urban/rural).The median age of students was 17 years (range: 14–23 years) with most being male (n = 287; 75.9%). The lifetime median number of sexual partners of students was 3 (range: 1–27). Students who used condoms with their regular partners were more likely to have had counselling for HIV (OR :1.79; 95% CI: 1.06–3.01). Those students who were more likely to have been tested for HIV were female (OR: 44.90; 95% CI: 7.77–259.38), those who had always used a condom with their non-regular partner (OR: 2.75; 95% CI: 1.01–7.47), and those who knew a person who had tested for HIV (OR: 15.28; 95% CI: 5.16–45.23). Targeting students, especially males early in adolescence and reinforcing safe sex behaviour messages through their high school years, can encourage HCT among students.

Keywords: HCT, pregancy, regular partner, voluntary

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eISSN: 1608-5906
print ISSN: 1727-9445