XVIII International AIDS Conference


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It takes a ´SAFE SEX´ village

C.B. Wilson

ASHE Performing Arts Company, Kingston, Jamaica

Issues: Young people ages 12 - 15 are now most at risk for various social illnesses including HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies and physical abuse. Additionally, absent parents and/or lack of proper parenting skills compact a culture loaded with a societal norm to behave in a particular way in order to 'fit in' with a particular crowd.
Description: ASHE 'EIC' Edutainment model of teaching - 'Excitement, Involvement & Commitment!' ASHE set up a “Safe Sex Village” in 7 schools in which sexually transmitted infections were characterized through edutainment performances in a “HIV/AIDS Haunted House” plus an “Abstinence Lounge” and “Safe Sex Street”. The students were exposed to performances, role-play, and other creative ways of exploring the world of sexuality in a safe and stress free way with their peers. Teachers and youth peer links were trained in effective methods of teaching and handling sexuality and reproductive health issues. Follow up in class edutainment sessions were conducted with the students to reinforce the messages. Each class put together a song, dance or skit on HIV/AIDS prevention. A DVD teaching tool was created from the intervention to support the Health and Family Life Education in schools.
Lessons learned: Over 90% of participants reported strong interest in the methodology and gaining knowledge. Teachers expressed more comfort in dealing with issues of sexuality and alternative lifestyles. Over 80% of students reported changing attitudes; delaying sexual activity/advances and knowledge of their sexual choices. More work to be done in attitudes towards PLWHA.
Next steps: Scale up on the intervention using edutainment with greater focus on stigma and discrimination

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