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Where And When Did You Learn About Sex?

AMPATH’s trained health reporters asked people in the Eldoret area about sexual health education. Read, watch, and listen to people’s experiences with sex education in our series: Are People Happy with Their Sex Education in Kenya?
Published : 19 September, 2017 | Updated : 10 October, 2017

We're launching a 5 part series about sex education in Western Kenya. Follow AMPATH at @AmpathKenya on Facebook and @ampathkenya via Twitter to learn about people's experiences with sex education in Kenya and how they think it can be improved.  

*Please note that the opinions and views expressed in this story are not the opinions and views of AMPATH. 

Question 1: Where and when did you learn about sex? 

Health reporter, Timothy, interviewed Dan from Uasin Gishu about how he first learned about sex education in high school. “Whenever the teacher talked about it, everyone in class appeared to feel shy," recalls Dan. Prior to learning about sex in high school, Dan felt that sex was not something that could be spoken about openly. 

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When do Kenyan Youths get Sex Education?
23rd July, 2017
The first time Dan learned about sex education was when he was in high school. Prior to that, all he knew concerning this topic was that it was not to be discussed openly and freely by anyone.
“Whenever the teacher talked about it, everyone in class appeared to feel shy," he recalls.
On joining college, talk about sexual health became normal. He feels it is very important for everyone to access sexual health education. He knows that access to proper sexual health education has empowered many people, especially the youths, on how to enhance their reproductive health. Ultimately, with this knowledge, the youths are able to practice safe sex hence avoiding sexually transmitted infections and unplanned for pregnancies.  
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When do Kenyan Youths get Sex Education?

23rd July, 2017
The first time Dan learned about sex education was when he was in high school. Prior to that, all he knew concerning this topic was that it was not to be discussed openly and freely by anyone.
“Whenever the teacher talked about it, everyone in class appeared to feel shy," he recalls.
On joining college, talk about sexual health became normal. He feels it is very important for everyone to access sexual health education. He knows that access to proper sexual health education has empowered many people, especially the youths, on how to enhance their reproductive health. Ultimately, with this knowledge, the youths are able to practice safe sex hence avoiding sexually transmitted infections and unplanned for pregnancies.  

Another interviewee, Vincent from Nandi Hills, recalls his first experience with sex education in primary school class 6 – the class was shown a video of sick people with HIV in order to scare the adolescents into not having sex. The only information he received from his parents and the church was not to have sex until marriage, but nothing about how to have safe sex. 

Vincent feels that he and his peers did not receive adequate sex education, and he recalls young girls getting pregnant because they didn't know how to protect themselves. Most of his real sex education came from his peers, both accurate and inaccurate! 

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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.
View full report
Primary
Source

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.

In contrast, another interviewee, Paul, from Eldoret never had sex education in school. Instead, he learned about sexual health from his peers and the media, "I only used to hear of contraceptives, HIV infection rates and STD's through media adverts". 

Primary
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SEXUAL HEALTH EDUCATION
31st July, 2017
In talking with Timothy, an AMPATH Health Reporter, Paul, a resident of Eldoret shares his views on sexual health education. He reveals that in all his educational years, he was never given any sex education. It was only after completing college that he was able to get information on sex education from other youths in a dance crew he joined. The much he knew about sexual health he learnt from the media.  "I only used to hear of contraceptives, HIV infection rates and STD's through media adverts" Paul said.  Having witnessed many abortion cases, he believes that it is due to lack of access to sexual health education. In spite of the varying perceptions concerning the topic of sexual health, he strongly feels that information on this should still be availed and easily accessible to inform choices on reproductive health. Paul urges the government to step in to ensure all people access sexual health education. Not only does he think this will help in encouraging use of family planning but also help control spread of HIV/AIDs and other sexually related health problems. From this conversation, it is clearly established that sexual health is a topic that is rarely talked about in the community, which leaves many youths with lack of information on how to go about practicing safe sex. In the end, many end up making bad choices that would probably have been avoided had they had access to the right information pertaining their sexuality.
View full report
Primary
Source

SEXUAL HEALTH EDUCATION

31st July, 2017
In talking with Timothy, an AMPATH Health Reporter, Paul, a resident of Eldoret shares his views on sexual health education. He reveals that in all his educational years, he was never given any sex education. It was only after completing college that he was able to get information on sex education from other youths in a dance crew he joined. The much he knew about sexual health he learnt from the media.  "I only used to hear of contraceptives, HIV infection rates and STD's through media adverts" Paul said.  Having witnessed many abortion cases, he believes that it is due to lack of access to sexual health education. In spite of the varying perceptions concerning the topic of sexual health, he strongly feels that information on this should still be availed and easily accessible to inform choices on reproductive health. Paul urges the government to step in to ensure all people access sexual health education. Not only does he think this will help in encouraging use of family planning but also help control spread of HIV/AIDs and other sexually related health problems. From this conversation, it is clearly established that sexual health is a topic that is rarely talked about in the community, which leaves many youths with lack of information on how to go about practicing safe sex. In the end, many end up making bad choices that would probably have been avoided had they had access to the right information pertaining their sexuality.
Paul from Action sharing on sexual health education.

How did YOU learn about sex? Join the conversation by sharing, commenting, and liking this story. Tag @AmpathKenya on Facebook and @ampathkenya on Twitter so that we can see your comments and we can all learn from you as well!