The implications of life skills training on sexual behavior and attitudes towards cross generational sex among pre-university young women in Uganda
Presented by Kambabazi Lubaale Susan Dorcus (Uganda).
K.L. Susan Dorcus1, N. Assumpta2, L. Julius2, S. Sensalire1, P. Buyungo1, S. Mukasa3
1Program for Accessible Health Communication and Education (PACE) Uganda, Research, Kampala, Uganda, 2Program for Accessible Health Communication and Education (PACE) Uganda, Communication, Kampala, Uganda, 3Program for Accessible Health Communication and Education (PACE), Executive Director, Kampala, Uganda
Issues: In Uganda, 10% of women aged 15-19 have engaged in cross-generational sex (CGS)?sex with a man at least 10 years their senior?in the past 12 months (MoH, 2006). The huge age difference between sexual partners is a major determinant of the rapid rise in HIV prevalence among young women versus their male peers (Gregson S, 2002).
Description: To combat these high-risk CGS relationships, PACE has conducted Life Skills Camps (LSC) since 2007 to build HIV risk awareness among female secondary school graduates likely to matriculate in university. The camps curriculum stressed HIV education, motivational speakers on planning for dreams, student debates, film screenings, and peer testimonials. In order to evaluate the camps' effectiveness, a three-stage longitudinal cohort study was conducted. Knowledge of HIV, sexual behavior and perceptions related to CGS were established before and after the three-day residential camps through a pre-camp baseline survey (n=475) and a post-camp evaluation (n=515). Participants were given a follow-up assessment six months after the camps (n=174).
Lessons learned: Evaluations demonstrated statistically significant positive change in knowledge, perceptions, attitude, and reported behaviors related to CGS. In the respective assessment periods, accurate knowledge of CGS was 75%, 93% and 98% (p< 0.001). The proportion of girls who perceived negative consequences of CGS increased from 87% at pre-test to 96% at six-month follow-up (p< 0.001). The percentage of participants who discouraged their friends against CGS rose from 64% before camps to 87% at follow-up (p< 0.05). Reported rates of recent CGS significantly declined from 6.9% at pre-test to 0.6% at follow-up (p< 0.001).
Next steps: Evidence shows effectiveness of the intervention but considering that the young women start CGS at a younger age, the lessons learned have encouraged PACE to look beyond pre-university women to provide a similar intervention to those most at risk.
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