Sexual Health and HIV health promotion

African communities are diverse culturally and linguistically. Each community has its own values and challenges around sexual health and HIV, so a one size fits all approach is not an option.

In many cultures, HIV and sexual health are subject of great sensitivity, and occasionally can be taboo topics. Dealing with these matters across many cultures poses unique challenges.We frame our work as the support, development and participation of the communities we work with. This approach requires a detailed level of engagement with communities, as what is culturally respectful and acceptable for one community may not be for another.

Love Cover Protect approach allows us to work in a way which is flexible and adaptable for each of the different populations we work with, but which remains culturally sensitive and respectful.

The success of our approach is evidenced by the fact that in all our work to date, key community leaders, other organisations, and the community members themselves have all been comfortable with our positive framework which positions sexual health as being about awareness, responsibility, and positive attitudes.


Credit: Mercedes Sayagues/IPS

Sexual responsibility is not only about condom!

Being ‘sexually responsible’ means practising sexual behaviours that ensure the physical, emotional and relational well-being of all involved.

In order for this to happen, people (youth in particular) first need to be aware of their bodies (and how they function), their feelings, and their desires. They also need to be informed of the risks and benefits attached to sexual expression and how best to manage these. It is also important to learn to understand and accept other people’s rights to sexual expression, however different to one’s own choices. These are the necessary foundations for being ‘sexually responsible’.

In addition, it’s important to know where and how to access help in relation to sexual health and expression.

Knowledge of anatomy, disease, condom usage and the location of supportive health services like sexual health clinics, are not enough to ensure ‘sex responsible’ behaviour.

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