Factors that predispose young people to HIV infections: a study of selected public secondary schools in Meru central district, Kenya
Kiara, Francis Kirimi
MetadataShow full item record
The basic objective of the study was to explore and discover the variables that predispose young people to HIV infections in secondary schools. Meru central district was among the top ten districts with the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate. Majonty of those are young people aged between 15-19 years who are mainly of school going age. There was a dearth in the research on the factors that predispose young people in secondary schools to HIV infections in Meru Central district which this study sought to fill. This situation raised serious concerns for education and the government because young people are a• important human resource investment for development. The key subjects of the study were girls and boys in secondary schools. Their teachers, parents and school administrators were included in the study if their school was selected for the study. Field education officer and health/social workers were sarri pled because they were key players in the educational sector and possessed valuable insights for the Study. The study was largely descriptive using survey as the main method and triangulation as the main research technique to collate, analyse and validate data from several sources. The data collection tools included written questionnaires, interviews, focus group discussions, observation schedules and documentary analysis. Data was analysed qualitatively and quantitatively using basic descriptive statistics guided by the questions and objectives of the study. Analysed and interpreted data was presented thematically. The findings are discussed and conclusions drawn upon which recommendations are based. The study findings indicate that HIV infections in Meru are likely to soar among young people. The prevalence rates might increase further since notable variables such as pervasive abject poverty, traditional social cultural practices such as FGC, drug abuse, sexual indulgences, pornographies, lack of knowledge on HIV and AIDS and negative attitudes/ beliefs about VCT's and condoms use, lack of open dialogue to demystify HIV and AIDS between parents/teachers and the young people are persistent. Other factors include risky practices of seeking vengeance by infecting others as well as inconsistency and lack of teaching of HIV and AIDS education which denies young people the empowerment and capacity to ably adopt safe sexual behaviour that would help to curb HIV infections. Overall this study strongly recommends that the GoK should review the current HIV and AIDS policy to make it more comprehensive and inclusive so as to encompass compulsory teaching and examination of HIV and AIDS education as separate subject at all levels. Young people as experts about themselves should be provided space to actively participate in planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation of HIV and AIDS sustainable strategic programmes among selves.