Do moral values influence the spread of HIV/AIDS amongst young people/adolescence

Solomons, Daniel Peter (2008-12)

Thesis (MPhil (Industrial Psychology))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


Great strides have been made on many fronts. Various forms of medication are available to treat, and even prevent a variety of HIV-related opportunistic infections. However the spread of the virus is not slowing down. Although HIV-positive people who have easy access to care facilities or primary health facilities do not become sick as often or spend less times in hospitals, very little research has been done involving young people or adolescents. HIV/AIDS research efforts in past primarily focused on two specific population groups, namely infants and adults. Most adolescents are biologically more similar to adults than is the case with infants. However it is clear that adolescents are not on at the same developmental level than most adults. Despite huge efforts by world organizations, prevention programs and peer educators to inform people about the dangers of the HI-Virus, the number of infection cases increases day by day. This either means that the prevention programs are not effective or people are just apathetic. Although the average person knows about the affect the virus has on the human body still some indulge in unprotected risk-full sexual behaviour. Recent studies showed that the youth are also at risk and something needs to be done to reduce the spread of the the virus amongst children and the youth. The aim of this pilot study is to analyze the moral values of young people at Luckhoff High School and what role these values might play in the spread of the virus. Close-ended questions on a 4-point Lickert scale were distributed to 200 randomly selected learners (grade 8-11) of which 167(84%) were completed. Research results indicate that a relationship exists between moral values and the spread of the HI-Virus. It seems that there is a highly significant difference in the mean values of the two sexual status groups (those who are sexually active and those who are not) that participated in the research project. Those who were sexually non-active (91% of participants) had a value mean of 2.97 and the group who were sexually active (9%) a value mean of 2.5. Recommendations for future research in this particular area concerning moral values could be to include all nine Secondary Schools in the Stellenbosch region. This would result in a more informed understanding about the impact moral values have on the sexual patterns of learners and how this might prevent future HIV infections or STI’s. This should help to shift the focus from the existing values regarding abstinence, Being faithful and the practice of using condoms, which are very often far removed from the value system of youth, to values they can relate to.

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