Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV and AIDS are one of the biggest global health challenges that cause mortality. Mpumalanga province is one of the province that are also challenged by the prevalence of STIs including HIV and AIDS among youths that is why the researcher was prompted to do the study about the risk behaviours that are affecting youth to expose them to contract STIs including HIV and AIDS. Living a healthy lifestyle is a matter of choice. Living a healthy sexual lifestyle should also be a matter of choice. Unfortunately, among the youth in South Africa it seems as if there are obstacles in the way to make the choice to live a safe and healthy sexual lifestyle.
The purpose of this quantitative study was to identify and describe the risk behaviours of youths which can lead to them contracting STIs including HIV and AIDS. It was conducted with 195 respondents who visited two healthcare clinics in Mpumalanga, South Africa.
The study was descriptive, non-experimental and contextual in design. Results revealed that youths are presenting with STIs such as gonorrhoea, syphilis, chancroid and HIV and AIDS; therefore, there is a need to have a strategy to intervene to minimise the spread among youths and to give a support to those who are already infected in the Mpumalanga province.
The population for this study was youths between the ages of 18 years to 24 years and the criteria used for the selection of this study was to include only youths who can read or write English or isiZulu and those who are not under psychiatric treatment; therefore, the researcher in this regard complied with the criteria.
The pilot study was conducted from the two primary health care clinics prior to test the feasibility of the instrument before the main research study. The respondents who took part during pilot studying were not included in the main study. The data was collected by means of a self-administered data collection instrument and out of 200 respondents, 195 respondents completed the forms and five were returned incomplete. Data analysis was done by the statistician in the University of Pretoria using thestatistical package for the social sciences (SPSS). The findings for this study reported that the majority of respondents were sexually active with n=162 (83.1%) in table 4.11 and that youths are also involved in risk behaviours of taking drugs when socializing. There is also a prevalence of alcohol and, table 4.15 show that n=41(21%) of respondents reported that they never used a condom as a protective measure. Therefore these youth are at the risk of contracting STIs including HIV and AIDS.
Voluntary counselling and testing programmes need to be strengthened by the programme managers for its effectiveness to empower youths about the information regarding the reproductive system, and to eliminate the information gap among youths. Youths know about the STI infections, but the preventive measures are still a problem as there is no consistency and they do not comply regarding condom use. Youths still need more support and encouragement to go for voluntary counselling and testing for HIV.
Dissertation (MCur)--University of Pretoria, 2015.