n African Journal of Rhetoric - HIV/AIDS-related beliefs at the University of Limpopo

Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1998-2054


This paper seeks to reveal beliefs among young people in Limpopo that can be relevant to the success or failure of HIV/AIDS-education. A survey was conducted among 325 students at the University of Limpopo, Turfloop Campus. The point of departure for the development of the survey tool, which included 102 questions and statements, was an adapted version of the PEN-model proposed by Airhihenbuwa (1989) and Van Dyk (2001a). Positive beliefs, which are beneficial to effective health education, were distinguished from negative beliefs, which are considered as harmful in view of the goals of health education. For the purpose of this study, a new category was added to the PEN-model: multifaceted beliefs, which could be either beneficial or detrimental to HIV/AIDS-education depending on the circumstances in which the belief is demonstrated. For all statements and questions about positive, negative and multifaceted beliefs, the percentages of respondents' confirming and disconfirming reactions were calculated. Subsequently, possible effects of gender and area of origin were investigated. The results of this study suggest that there is a wide range of positive, negative and multifaceted HIV/AIDS-related beliefs that deserve more attention from the developers of educational materials. It appears that from the threefold ABC messaging (Abstain, Be faithful, Condomise), 'Be faithful' rates highest for further consideration for extensive promotion within this target group. Furthermore, the option of including information about male circumcision into HIV/AIDS-educational materials may deserve more consideration from campaign developers.

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