In sub-Saharan Africa, young women are at the highest risk of HIV infection. Comprehensive sexuality education and open parent–child communication about sex have been shown to mitigate risky sexual practices associated with HIV. This study aimed to identify sources of HIV prevention knowledge among young women aged 10–14 years and community-based strategies to enhance HIV prevention in Zambia. Focus group discussions were conducted with 114 young women in Zambian provinces with the highest rates (~20%) of HIV. Discussions were recorded, transcribed and coded, and addressed perceived HIV risk, knowledge and access to information. Participants reported that limited school-based sexuality education reduced opportunities to gain HIV prevention knowledge, and that cultural and traditional practices promoted negative attitudes regarding condom use. Parent–child communication about sex was perceived to be limited; parents were described as feeling it improper to discuss sex with their children. Initiatives to increase comprehensive sexuality education and stimulate parental communication about sexual behaviour were suggested by participants. Culturally tailored programmes to increase parent–child communication appear warranted. Community-based strategies aimed at enhancing protective sexual behaviour among those most at risk are essential.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)