, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – A new study released on Friday showed that 36 percent of male and 10 percent of female students in Kenyan secondary schools were engaging in sex.
According to the report by local non governmental organisation – I Choose Life Africa – the students are those who have just started high school.
“Thirty-six percent of male students and 10 percent of female students have ever had sex. The average age of sexual debut was 12.4 years,” it read.
It also revealed that boys engaged in sex with their age mates while girls have their first encounter with older boys.
Unfortunately only 33 percent of boys and 50 percent of the girls reported using condoms in their first sexual encounter: “About one in 10 students who have had sex did not know whether a condom had been used. A similar pattern is seen for condom use at last sex.”
The report further indicated that one quarter of the students had sex with more than one partner in the last twelve months and 9.5 percent of those who have not had sex said they intended to have it next year.
According to the survey conducted in four schools in Nairobi, almost half of the students said they had attended training in HIV/AIDS and 87.4 percent of the students reported that they had talked to someone about HIV/AIDS in the previous year, mostly a peer educator.
Almost all the students said they knew the disease was transmitted through sex, although only 41 percent could describe at least three or more of the symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
“A number of students still have some incorrect beliefs about the spread of HIV, most of the students know about abstinence and are aware that it can prevent HIV/AIDS, STDs and pregnancy,” the report revealed.
In the report only one in 10 students expressed a negative attitude towards a teacher or student living with HIV/AIDS, while half of them reported that they would neither buy food from a shopkeeper who has HIV/AIDS; nor reveal to anyone if a member of their family became ill with HIV/AIDS
In its recommendations, the NGO said special focus was required on symptoms of STDs and modes of transmission of HIV/AIDS.
It also called for proper augmenting on the existing training on HIV/AIDS to avoid unnecessary duplication of such projects but at the same time emphasise on the benefits of abstinence and self efficacy to students.
It further advocated for more interventions in educating students on condom use and abstinence since some of them were not aware.
Inclusion of teachers and parents was also another recommendation the NGO would want integrated in the response to HIV/AIDS in schools.
The report was supposed to be handed over to the Education Ministry on Friday, but the media was evicted out of the boardroom after the Ministry said it was not aware of such a report.