Number of new HIV infections among adolescent girls and boys (15-19) and young women and men (20-24)
Target for 2017: reduce by 50%
Target for 2020: reduce by 75%
Source: UNICEF 2011
South Africa has compulsory school attendance from grade 1-9 for all learners. Enrolment rates fall in secondary schooling to about 70%. There are concerns with the quality of education in many schools, at all levels. There are programs helping to assist in better education access for children living in poverty, including the Child Support Grant and National School Nutrition Programme.
Sex, sexuality and HIV education is incorporated into the curriculum, using the Integrated School Health Policy (ISHP) and Basic Education Integrated Strategy on HIV, STIs and TB 2012-2016. The ISHP package covers a range of health issues including abuse, puberty, substance abuse, sexual and reproductive health, STIs, contraception, teen pregnancy and termination, HIV/AIDS counselling and testing, HIV prevention, prevention of mother-to-child transmission and stigmas.
There has been some major positive changes in risk behaviours reported by young people since the 1990s but HIV remains a major burden, particularly among young women in South Africa. In 2008, HIV prevalence in women aged 20-24 was 21.1% compared to 5.15% of men. However, evidence of HIV transmission is declining, especially in pregnant women (mother-to-child transmission). A range of sexual and reproductive health services are available to young people, including contraception, condoms, STI treatments and terminations of pregnancy.
There are more and more services being provided now to ensure that learners are able to access the proper health services needed in their communities. For example, the Integrated School Health Policy (ISHP) is encouraging more integrated health facilities and services in schools to improve better access to health care.
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