n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Knowledge, perception and behaviour of students towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community at Walter Sisulu University, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Volume 20, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


The practice of homosexuality is a major concern to health service providers, given that this constitutes a risk-factor to HIV/AIDS, STDs, and STIs transmission. This study aims to explore knowledge, perception and behaviour of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) students regarding HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and infections. A cross-sectional study was conducted in two campuses of Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in Eastern Cape: Mthatha and Potsdam. Data were collected with the aid of questionnaire, administered among students and staff in the two campuses. A total of 126 participants completed the questionnaire (56 male and 70 female) aged 18->40 years. Most (64.3%) students were aware of homosexuals in the community, while 74.6% believe having sex with same gender is abnormal and unnatural. Sexual desire between and attraction to opposite sex scored high (69.8% and 67.5% respectively). About 58.7% and 55.6% believed talks in classes and programmes in the community, respectively, will address same sex relationship. Most (81.7%) participants were straight/heterosexuals, while 3.2% each identified themselves as lesbians and bisexuals, respectively. Homosexuality as a risk factor for transmission of HIV/AIDS, STDs, and STIs scored 40.5%, need for LGBTI sector to practice safe sex and have equal access to health services recorded 73% and 47.6%, respectively. Knowledge of those who dress/act like opposite sex and acceptability was 60.3% and 36.5%, respectively. Fifty-seven (45.2%) participants indicated that the community should not encourage people to dress/act like opposite sex. The students are aware of the presence of LGBTI in WSU community. Generally, the activities and behaviour of LGBTI are not accepted by the community, as men who have sex with men have a disproportionate risk of HIV infection as a result of increased risk from anal intercourse. Yet, there are some contentions by a minority regarding justification and legality of condemning LGBTI. There is need for the University community to include in the school curriculum and design programmes that will enlighten members of the community concerning the concept and practice of homosexuality.

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