Program

Sep 12, 2008

OVERVIEW

Targeted messages for HIV prevention was a
demonstration program which sought to provide junior and senior high school
students with general knowledge and prevention strategies related to HIV/AIDS.
Teachers are trained by health workers about HIV/AIDS general knowledge and
HIV/AIDS prevention. An experimental, random-assignment evaluation found that
the program was only slightly effective in increasing student knowledge about
HIV/AIDS and prevention strategies.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:
Junior and senior high school students

This program
involves training of teachers in topics related to general knowledge of HIV/AIDS
and prevention of the disease. Teachers meet with health workers who provide
the training and materials for teachers to use in their classrooms and then
teachers present targeted messages to their students regarding HIV/AIDS. These
messages address the differences between HIV and AIDS, seropositivity, risk of
transmission of the virus, and effectiveness of prevention strategies.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Spadea, T.,
Schifano, P., Borgia, P., & Perucci, C. A. (1998). The balance of positive and
negative effects of specific messages in the evaluation of interventions for
preventing HIV infection. European Journal of Epidemiology, 15, 109-117.

Evaluated population:
A total of 3866 junior and high school students attending
46 schools randomly selected from all schools in the Lazio region of Italy.
These schools were stratified based on their characteristics into three groups:
junior high schools, technical high schools, and vocational and art high
schools.

Approach:
The 46 schools were randomly assigned to either the intervention group or the
control group. Teachers in the intervention group attended training sessions
taught by health workers. During these sessions, they were given information
about AIDS transmission and prevention and were given instruction on how to
teach their students about HIV/AIDS. Teachers then taught an unspecified number
of classes and a check was conducted at each school to ensure that the program
had been implemented. Students were evaluated through a questionnaire which
evaluated general HIV/AIDS knowledge and perception of risk through different
types of virus transmission. The questionnaire was administered before and
after the intervention, and 81.4 percent of the initial sample completed both
questionnaires.

Results: The
impacts of the program were described as “weak” by the investigators. Students
in the intervention condition improved their knowledge in a few specific areas
including: the impossibility of transmission through social contacts, the
meaning of “seropositivity”, the difference between HIV and AIDS, and the lack
of any cure for AIDS. There were some negative impacts of the program on
knowledge about HIV/AIDS which occurred in the vocational and art high schools
and among younger students. Specifically, student knowledge declined among
vocational school students on questions regarding condom use and the risk
associated with needle exchange. Younger students answered incorrectly more
often when asked if HIV could be transmitted while donating blood.

NOTE: Results
should be interpreted with caution as it is not clear if researchers corrected
for random assignment done at the school level.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Spadea, T.,
Schifano, P., Borgia, P., & Perucci, C. A. (1998). The balance of positive and
negative effects of specific messages in the evaluation of interventions for
preventing HIV infection. European Journal of Epidemiology, 15, 109-117.

KEYWORDS: Adolescents, Youth, High School, Condom Use and Contraception, STD/HIV/AIDS.

Program
information last updated 9/12/08