Original Articles

Sex and the Right to HIV/AIDS Education in Early Childhood

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 18, issue 3, 2008 , pages: 439–443
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2008.10820220
Author(s): Deevia BhanaUniversity of KwaZulu-Natal,


This study explored how early childhood teachers (n=5) and young children (n=174) (age range 7 to 8 years; males = 81; females = 93) in two primary schools constructed and interpreted the right to HIV/AIDS education. Data were captured using individual interviews with teachers and group interviews with young children. Analysis of the data showed that teachers viewed young children's right to health information positively but did not consider the right to sexual information. Teachers operated within discourses which upheld the image of the child as innocent requiring protection from sexual knowledge. Children's perceptions of their rights to knowledge of sex in HIV/AIDS education showed ambiguity. Some accepted the right to know whilst others felt that knowledge about HIV/AIDS was inconsistent with childhood innocence.

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