Original Articles

Sexual Activity Among Rural High School Students in Zimbabwe: Results and Implications for HIV Prevention

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 23, issue 3, 2013 , pages: 511–513
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2013.10820660
Author(s): Taruvinga MushoriwaUniversity of Fort Hare,


This study surveyed sexual activity among Zimbabwean teenagers with a view to assisting them adopt safe sexual practices in the face of the HIV\AIDS pandemic. Participants were 200 high school students (females = 50%; mean age = 16.7%, SD = 0.8%) from Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe. They completed a semi-structured questionnaire on sexual debut, current sexual activity and use of contraception. Data were analysed descriptively and thematically. The results suggest high prevalence of sexual activity among the school students, and some of it being unprotected. Specifically condom and contraceptive use was very low. This bodes well with the theory of optimistic bias (Weisten, 1984) which basically claims that some people think that they are less likely than the average person to experience health problems. When assessing their own risks, they do not see themselves as being at risk at all. If we apply this theory to the current study, it means that despite knowledge and awareness of HIV/AIDS, students continue to engage in risky sexual activities thinking that this will not affect them but only their friends and others.

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