Effects of HIV/AIDS on academic and social lives of secondary school students in Samburu County, Kenya
Authors: Manyara Charity Gakii, Dr.Kisilu Kombo and Dr.Wokabi Francis
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In the world today, the Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) which causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has become a global pandemic. Out of the 65 million people infected globally 29.4 million live in sub-Saharan Africa (WHO, 2009). Initially, HIV and AIDS were believed to be a problems confined to the adult domain. However, it has now become common knowledge that a person can be infected at any age. HIV and AIDS is a problem that the human race has had to contend with over the last decade until it has become a pandemic. The HIV and AIDS epidemic in Africa has impacted on the society in many ways. One of the most long-term impacts is the creation of an estimated 13 million orphans by 2000 and projected 24 million by 2010 (UNAIDS 2001). HIV and AIDS have been rated among the leading contemporary problems in Kenya especially among the youth. According to a study carried out by the population council (2003), 66% of adolescent HIV cases are in relationships with the opposite sex, while 61% are sexually active and have low contraceptive use and 43% think they have a “good “to “moderate “chance of getting the disease because they have multiple sex partners. In Samburu County, where the study was carried out, the cases of HIV and AIDS among the youth are reported to be rising constantly. This study was geared towards investigating the challenges of the infected and effected students in Samburu County with a view of identifying intervention measures by the schools to these challenges. The study focused on Samburu County due its high HIV prevalence of 7.2% in comparison to the national prevalence of 6.3%. By determining the number of students living with HIV/AIDS through the HIV/AIDS treatment, care and support centers, the study drew attention to the intensity of the problem and the need for the education sector to address these challenges. The target sample of the infected was purposively drawn from the existing records in the HIV/AIDS support centers while that of the affected was purposively selected with the assistance of their schools. The other component of the study sought to assess the school environment from which the samples are drawn, to determine the mechanisms put in place to support the affected and infected learners within the school environment. Self administered structured questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data from the infected and affected students as well as the Principals. A pilot study was conducted in a different school to enable the adjustment of data collecting instruments so as to ensure validity and reliability of the data. Data was qualitatively analyzed by using simple frequency distributions and percentages and presented on tables. From the findings, it was evident that social-cultural and economic factor greatly impacts on the social and economic performance of the infected and affected youths in secondary schools. On the basis of the findings, the researcher recommends training of more guidance and counseling teachers, a policy to make HIV and AIDS a compulsory subject and establishment of youth Friendly Centers to deal with the challenges of students infected and affected by HIV and AIDS thus helping to curb the spread of the virus among the students.
Keywords: Infected, affected, HIV and AIDS, students, impact