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Silence, Sexuality & HIV/AIDS in South African Schools

Silence, Sexuality & HIV/AIDS in South African Schools

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Published by woodstockwoody
In South Africa, stern Calvinist
traditions compounded by the
authoritarianism of Apartheid
produced a silenced society for the
majority of black and white people
In South Africa, stern Calvinist
traditions compounded by the
authoritarianism of Apartheid
produced a silenced society for the
majority of black and white people

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Published by: woodstockwoody on Sep 10, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Robert MorrellCesnabmihilo D. Aken’Ova
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VOL 1 ISSUE 4 2004
Published byAfrica Regional Sexuality Resource Centre, Lagos, NigeriaElectronic copy available on website - www.arsrc.orgA project of Action Health Incorporated
Silence, SexualitySilence, SexualitySilence, SexualitySilence, SexualitySilence, Sexualityand HIV/AIDS inand HIV/AIDS inand HIV/AIDS inand HIV/AIDS inand HIV/AIDS inSouth AfricanSouth AfricanSouth AfricanSouth AfricanSouth AfricanSchoolsSchoolsSchoolsSchoolsSchools
WWWWWomen, Sexualityomen, Sexualityomen, Sexualityomen, Sexualityomen, Sexualityand HIV/AIDSand HIV/AIDSand HIV/AIDSand HIV/AIDSand HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS andSexualityin Africa
Mervat M. Mohammed
World AIDS Day Campaign 2004 Poster (UNAIDS)
No Sex. No School.
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In This Issue
3Silence, Sexuality and HIV/AIDSin South African Schools
Issue in Focus
7HIV/AIDS and Sexualityin Africa
Region Watch
9 Focus on Botswana NationalYouth Council
Research Notes
11.Calculating HIV/AIDS Estimates
13Women, Sexuality and HIV/AIDS15Notes to ContributorsGuidelines for Submissions15About the Contributors16Sexuality ResourcesSexuality in Africa Magazine is publishedin Lagos by Africa Regional SexualityResource Centre (ARSRC) and isdistributed without charge until otherwiseindicatedSexuality in AfricaAfrica Regional Sexuality Resource CentrePO Box 803, Sabo-YabaLagos, NigeriaPhone : (234) 1- 7919307Fax: (234)-1-3425470Email: info@arsrc.orgWebsite: www.arsrc.org
Editorial Team:
‘Nike O. EsietDr. Richmond TiemokoArit Oku-Egbas
Editorial Advisory Board:
Dr. Elias H.O. Ayiemba (East Africa)Mr. Kopano Ratele (Southern Africa)Ms. Petrida Ijumba (Southern Africa)Prof. Friday Okonofua (West Africa)Stephen Kwankye (West Africa)All the views expressed in this publicationare solely those of the authors and do notnecessarily reflect the views of the ARSRC/ AHI or any organisation providing support.Any part of this publication may be copiedor adapted for use to meet the local needswithout permission from the ARSRC, pro-vided that the parts copied are distributedfree or at no cost (not for profit) and thatthe source is identified. The ARSRC wouldappreciate receiving a copy of any materi-als in which the text is used.ISSN 0189-7667© ARSRC 2004
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Silence, Sexuality andHIV/AIDS in South African Schools
 Robert MorrellUniversity of KwaZulu- Natal, South Africa.
For nearly ten years, the sloganBreak the Silence’ has been a featureof AIDS prevention work in SouthAfrica. The slogan is a response tothe reluctance of individuals who areHIV positive either to test or todisclose their status. Breaking theSilence’ is a campaign that seeks topromote acceptance for people livingwith AIDS and, as a directconsequence, seeks to encouragepeople to be medically testedfor HIV.The silence around HIVstatus is not the only silencethat bedevils efforts to limitHIV transmission. In manyschools there is a culture of silence. Certain subjects aretaboo for discussion andteachers and learners areguarded, unable or unwillingto reflect personally on issuesof gender and sexuality. Suchschool cultures seriouslyundermine AIDS preventioninitiatives and place learnersand teachers at risk of sexuallytransmitted diseases andHIV/AIDS.In this article, I examinesome of the gendered causesand consequences of silence,particularly in school settings.I argue that work which,firstly, acknowledges theimportance of silence in blockingprevention messages and, secondly,seeks to break this silence has thepotential to impact dramatically onlife choices, gender equality and HIVprevention.
AIDS and Schools
South Africa has a demographicprofile characteristic of developingcountries – 33 per cent of thepopulation is under the age of 19years. Put another way, a very largeproportion of the population is eitherin school or will shortly be of school-going age. In 1999, over 22 per centof the population was HIV positivein South Africa [1]. Infectiondisproportionately affects the young– the highest incidence of full-blownAIDS is recorded in the 20–24 agegroup, where females are muchmore likely to be the sufferers. SinceAIDS normally only presents after6–8 years, one can extrapolate thatit is while at school that many peoplebecome infected [1].Most of South Africa’s schoolpopulation is black, working classand attends public school. We do notknow how many learners are HIVpositive. The only reliable sourcesof such details are State-run ante-natal clinics where blood tests areroutinely conducted. These figuresare generally used in calculating theextent of the pandemic but are nottranslated into school settings. Inschools, male and female learnersshow little inclination to test or todiscover their status. A recent WorldBank Report suggests that 12 percent of the country’s teachers areHIV positive [2].
 Adolescents participate in a DramAidE  forum theatre performance at a high schoolin Kwazulu Natal, a province in South Africa with the highest HIV/AIDS prevelance.
© 2000 Patrick Coleman/CCP,Courtesy of Photoshare
Feat ur e
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