Challenges and coping mechanisms towards sexual abstinence as a preventive measure for HIV/AIDS among secondary school students in Kibaale Town, Rakai District
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HIV/AIDS remains a very prevalent epidemic on the globe, however, primary prevention especially abstinence remains one of the most important realistic interventions for reducing further spread of the virus. Abstinence is considered one of the most effective measures in controlling the spread of the virus especially among secondary school students, however, on the contrary, many of the adolescents engage in sexual activities, while the society ideally expects the students to abstain from sexual activity, little is known about the challenges that the students face in the bid to abstain from sex, and in the same way, there is need to find out about the different ways through which they handle the pressure. This study examined the challenges that secondary school students face while trying to abstain from sexual intercourse and the different ways through which they cope with these challenges in Kibaale Town Council, Rakai District. It was a case study carried out in Kibaale Town Council. The variables tested were sexual abstinence status, age, sex, and class at school. Data collection was done using an interview guide and a focus group discussion guide. A total of 50 respondents were interviewed and 6 focus group discussions were carried out, key informants that were teachers were also interviewed. The study found out that the students face a number of challenges that include ridicule, consistent temptations, missing out on gifts, resort to pornography, rejection and hatred among others. The coping measures to these challenges included faith in God, talking to parents, silence about their status, ignoring of ridicules among others. It was concluded that most of the students face a number of challenges though they have the capability from within themselves and their environments to overcome these challenges. The researcher recommends that students should be encouraged to participate and take part in religious activities and also that there should be positive parent-child communication to provide the children with courage that can help them be strong enough amidst challenges.