Health and prevention in schools project: addressing youth vulnerability in Brazil
Y. Linhares1,2, K. Russo1, Y. Saldanha1, M. Malta1
1Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Social Science Department, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2GYCA - Global Youth Coallition, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Issues: Created in 2003, SPE is a partnership between the Brazilian National STD/AIDS Program. UNESCO, UNICEF, and UNFPA. It aims to achieve integration between health and education services in order to promote preventive health education and incorporate educational activities in Brazilian public middle and high schools.
Description: The intervention process include condom distribution in selected public schools and adopted a holistic approach on sexual and reproductive health, participatory learning methods with emphasis on sexual and reproductive health as a multidisciplinary and crosscutting theme, incentive of student´s creativity and participation. Teachers and peers educators are trained to conduct educational activities on issues such as sexuality, HIV/AIDS/STD prevention, gender, contraception leadership, self-esteem, etc. The project involves as many stakeholders as possible to contribute towards this process, such as young people themselves, the school community, universities, NGOs and networks of young people living with HIV.
Lessons learned: Key SPE outcomes include a strong youth engagement in the development of several initiatives, including peer education, theatre and arts activities, workshops etc. The intervention increased condom use among sexually active adolescents, increased students knowledge and skills towards adoption of safer behaviors. SPE is contributing to create a comfortable environment in order to address sexuality, sexual diversity and gender issues within schools.
Next steps: SPE is demonstrating a strong effect on youth leadership and participation in the development of different interventions towards HIV/AIDS prevention, human rights and discussion about sexuality and sexual diversity within schools. Condom accessibility will be increased through machines that distribute free condoms in selected publish schools as of mid 2010. After this implementation, we will evaluate the acceptability of this strategy and its impact on condom access and use among Brazilian public school students, and strategy that will be conducted together will all preventive interventions already developed by SPE.
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