MPhil study projects

Young people’s perceptions about participation in HIV edutainment in the uMkhanyakude district, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Student: Makhosazane Promise Ntombela

Country: South Africa

Edutainment plays a significant role in promoting health awareness in communities, yet young individuals often exhibit reluctance to engage in such activities. Community roadshows addressing health issues such as HIV/Aids, TB and STIs encounter resistance, particularly among youth. This study aimed to explore young people’s perceptions of participating in HIV edutainment, conducting qualitative interviews with 29 individuals aged 18 to 30 from uMkhanyakude.

More than half of the participants indicated that HIV was not their primary concern. Additionally, 66% indicated a reluctance to associate themselves with the events, with some perceiving them as clinics for ARV medication users or exclusively for older individuals receiving food aid. Many found the roadshows unappealing and irrelevant to younger audiences.

Participants identified poverty, peer pressure, unprotected sex and multiple sexual partners as contributing factors to HIV infection. They highlighted the importance of user-friendly healthcare, mobile clinic HIV testing and the promotion of dual protection methods like PreP.

Overall, the study shed light on young people’s perspectives on edutainment roadshow content and format, emphasising the need for tailored approaches to address the complex socio-cultural factors influencing HIV prevention.

Limitations included convenience sampling, a small sample size and geographical constraints in Soweto, potentially limiting generalisability. Social desirability bias and reliance on self-reported data were other acknowledged limitations.

Despite these limitations, the research yielded insights into factors shaping support for PrEP implementation among healthcare professionals. These findings can inform HIV/Aids prevention programme management, offering practical strategies to enhance PrEP implementation. The study represented a significant stride in advancing HIV prevention efforts among AGYW, with implications for broader public health initiatives.