National cross sectional study of views on sexual violence and risk of HIV infection and AIDS among South African school pupils

Neil Andersson, Ari Ho-Foster, Judith Matthis, Nobantu Marokoane, Vincent Mashiane, Sharmila Mhatre, Steve Mitchell, Tamara Mokoena, Lorenzo Monasta, Ncumisa Ngxowa, Manuel Pascual Salcedo, Heidi Sonnekus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To investigate the views of school pupils on sexual violence and on the risk of HIV infection and AIDS and their experiences of sexual violence. Design: National cross sectional study. Setting: 5162 classes in 1418 South African schools. Participants: 269 705 pupils aged 10-19 years in grades 6-11. Main outcome measure: Answers to questions about sexual violence and about the risk of HIV infection and AIDS. Results: Misconceptions about sexual violence were common among both sexes, but more females held views that would put them at high risk of HIV infection. One third of the respondents thought they might be HIV positive. This was associated with misconceptions about sexual violence and about the risk of HIV infection and AIDS. Around 11% of males and 4% of females claimed to have forced someone else to have sex; 66% of these males and 71% of these females had themselves been forced to have sex. A history of forced sex was a powerful determinant of views on sexual violence and risk of HIV infection. Conclusions: The views of South African youth on sexual violence and on the risk of HIV infection and AIDS were compatible with acceptance of sexual coercion and "adaptive" attitudes to survival in a violent society. Views differed little between the sexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)952-954
Number of pages3
JournalBritish Medical Journal
Volume329
Issue number7472
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 23 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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