Youth, relationships and risk in the context of HIV/AIDS : how do Grade 10 learners in four secondary schools in the Western Cape make relationship choices and how is this related to their conceptions of risk

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

What are Grade 10 learners' conceptions of risk in four secondary schools in the Western Cape and how do these conceptions influence relationship choice making in the context of HIV/AIDS? The research explores how youth in four secondary schools in the Western Cape, South Africa make relationship choices based on their conceptions of risk. The main focus of the research looks at youth identity and conceptions of risk in the context of HIV/AIDS and investigates what factors influence youth decision making processes in this context. For example, peer pressure/support, alcohol, drugs, schooling and education, religious belief, family values etc. The study is located in the qualitative paradigm because it seeks to gain a deep understanding of how youth understand risk and how this influences how they go about making choices, particularly related to sexual decision making. Data was collected from four demographically different schools in the Western Cape. Methods of data collection include a questionnaire, four focus group discussions and twenty nine informal individual interviews. The results revealed that youth have a sense of invincibility, have little fear of risk and do not recognise HIV/AIDS as being an immediate threat to them as for many youth, until you experience something, it does not have an impact on you. They therefore feel that until HIV/AIDS affects them directly it is difficult to foresee the risk when the results of your actions are not immediate. The research therefore concludes that the nature of education being taught to youth needs to change.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 98-102).