Interpersonal communication about sexuality and HIV/AIDS-related messages among South African high school learners
Keywords:Sexuality, Sex-related issues, HIV/AIDS, Parent-child communication, Interpersonal communication, Health communication, High school learners
Communication between adolescents and associated others about sex-related issues is considered to be important in promoting healthy behaviour among young people. Sexual behaviour by adolescents is influenced by conversations held with family members and peers. Mass communication effect theories state that interpersonal discussions are capable of modifying the responses of targeted audiences to mass media messages. Various studies have been conducted about parent-child communication. However, literature provides scant evidence of the reasons given by adolescents for their preferred choice of conversation partners for “sensitive” sexual communication. Individual interviews were conducted with 320 high school learners in order to solicit their views. Results (n=1280) show that generally learners would be more willing to talk to their friends than their parents about sex-related health issues. Findings from this study could assist campaign designers in constructing sexual behaviour change messages that foster the right conversations with the right people.