How do young Kenyans receive sex education?

22nd July, 2017

The quality of sex education young people receive is predictive of healthy sexual behaviors, including when they initiate sexual activity, whether they practice safe sex, and how sex impacts their health. To understand more about sex education young Kenyans receive, I interviewed Vincent, a young man from Nandi Hills who works at AMPATH, about his sex education. He recalls his first experience with sex education in primary school class 6 when they were shown a video of people sick with HIV as a way to scare them not to have sex. From his parents and church, the only message was not to have sex until marriage, but nothing about how to have safe sex. Because of this, he feels, they did not receive adequate sex education, and he recalls young girls even 12 or 13 years old becoming pregnant because they didn't know how to protect themselves. Most of his real sex education came from his peers-- both positive and negative! He felt there was a lot of teasing and encouragement to start having sex. But there was also discussion about using condoms. He went in the evening to secretly pick up condoms from the dispensary, but didn't know how to use them & had to find out on his own. Given his experiences, he thinks parents should provide good sex education early enough, including use of condoms and family planning to be safe and prevent infections and pregnancy.