XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Communication on sexual rights and health: participation of adolescents in reformatories

M. Reyes, A. Savdié

Asociación Payasos, Guatemala, Guatemala

Background: The effort on HIV prevention within reformatories for adolescents in Guatemala is very inadequate. 59.28% of these adolescents have their first sexual relation between 13 and 18 years of age (Worldfund). The adolescents living in “Centros Juveniles para la Prevención de Libertad” (CEJUPLIM and CEJUPLIV) reject any kind of information which implies a personal involvement. Proyecto Payaso develops its communication on sexual health through arts to reflect with adolescents upon their sexual life. This paper analyses the communication process on sexual health and HIV prevention through participative arts; it focuses on its effects in reformatories in Guatemala and on the possibility of replicating the project in other contexts.
Methods: During 12 months, Proyecto Payaso implemented activities in “CEJUPLIM” (23 girls) and in “CEJUPLIV” (150 boys):
  1. Negotiate with the authorities of each centre for the intervention.
  2. First contact with adolescents: theatrical performances.
  3. Discussions according to necessities with appropriate contents.
Results: Confidence and trust flourished, sharing experiences with girls; this allowed going into depth in the subjects. Their involvement rose and culminated in a mural painting on prevention. Changes occurred on risk perception: all of them asked for HIV test. Unfortunately the test was not led for inefficacy of a public clinic. Authorities deny the existence of sexual relations within the Centres: possession of condoms is not allowed. Proyecto Payaso left condoms in direction offices, to be distributed at the end of their detention. In the meanwhile, adolescents will be exposed to sexual transmitted diseases. In the male reformatories, interventions were limited by violent conditions and instability of directive boards. Personal involvement was significant.
Conclusions: Art represents an efficient communication strategy; it emphasizes on individual participation which allows direct involvement and empowerment and helps in conveying meanings and information. It also favours analysis and questioning as bases of any change in behaviour.

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