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Risk Behaviour In Adolscents Essay

935 words - 4 pages

Risk Behaviour in South African Adolescents with regards to HIV/AIDS

Introduction
In South Africa today HIV/AIDS is a pandemic that has affected people in almost every area of the country. Millions of people have died from this viral disease and even more are currently infected, however this being said the disease is preventable and yet has not been eradicated; this is partly due to the risk behaviour in society, especially amongst the adolescents of the country. Factors such as education, or lack thereof, substance abuse and gender roles contribute greatly to the spreading of this lethal and infectious disease but with the intervention of psychology further contagion can be prevented. ...view middle of the document...

Where teenagers live and the people they are surrounded by will have a significant effect on the likeliness of developing a substance abuse problem, this is demonstrated by Swartz, De la Rey, Duncan & Townsend (2011 p105) that claim “as the number of risk factors increase, the risk of an individual developing a substance-use disorder increases.” Moreover adolescents that have substance abuse problems are at a greater risk of contracting HIV/AIDS because they are already participating in dangerous risk behaviour and thus are more likely to have unprotected sex or use infected needles when getting high. Therefore the misuse of dangerous substance in adolescents increases risk behaviour and chances of contracting and spreading HIV/AIDS.
Gender Roles
In addition gender roles have a significant effect on the risk behaviour of adolescents and their probability of contracting HIV/AIDS. In many cultures women are seen as subordinate to men, thus gender roles negatively affect women as they are often forced into risk behaviour, as “girls vulnerability to infection is increased by culture of physical and sexual violence;” (Swartz et al (2011 p2107 -2114)) because of certain cultural perceptions women do not have the chance to negotiate safe sex as they are dependent on men for financial and social support. The influence of gender roles is further perpetuated as in many cultures men have more than one sexual partner which increases the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS to all sexual partners. Studies have also shown that “young men who perpetrate partner violence engage in significantly higher levels of HIV/AIDS risk behaviour” (Dunkle et al (2006 p2107 -2114)) thus this proves to be a vicious cycle as women being abused do not have a say in safe sex and men who abuse woman partake in HIV risk behaviour. Hence gender roles and the subordination of woman prevent...

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