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Lawrence Meda, Alfred H. Makura


South Africa has reportedly the largest number of people living with HIV and AIDS in the world. Although adolescents as a group comprises the greatest portion of infected people, their behaviours and perceptions about the disease leave a lot to be desired. The purpose of this article is to explore some South African adolescent girls’ risky behaviours and perceptions about HIV and AIDS. A qualitative case study approach, using a school in Soweto, Johannesburg, was adopted. The paradigmatic position was interpretive. Twelve adolescent girls aged between 15 and 19 were purposively selected to participate in semi-structured interviews. Data were qualitatively processed to discern themes. Results showed that adolescent girls have comprehensive knowledge about HIV and AIDS, but they indulge in risky sexual behaviours because of ignorance, peer influence and a need to access government child support grants. The study concludes that unless there is a sharp turn-around in the youthful adolescent girls’ perspectives on HIV and AIDS, the country’s efforts to attain a Sustainable Development Goal of combatting HIV and AIDS, will remain elusive.


Adolescents; HIV and AIDS; South Africa; Perceptions

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