Educational impact of peer-intervention on the knowledge and attitudes about HIV/AIDS in adolescents in Panama

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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board Member: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel


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Educational impact of peer-intervention on the knowledge and attitudes about HIV/AIDS in adolescents in Panama

María G. Aramburú1 / 2 / Stella Rowley2 / Sharene Smoot2 / Fermina Chamorro3 / Vicente Bayard3

1Fundación Amaneceres, Panama and pediatric resident Georgetown University Hospital, WA, USA

2 Department of Infectious Disease, Hospital del Niño, Panama

3 Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios en Salud, Panama, Republic of Panama

Corresponding author: Dora Estripeaut, MD, Department of Infectious Disease, Hospital del Niño, Avenida Balboa y calle 34, Panamá, Republic of Panamá Phone: (+507)-512-9808 ext 174, Fax: (+507)-225-8089

Citation Information: . Volume 24, Issue 2, Pages 135–141, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, ISSN (Print) 0334-0139, DOI: 10.1515/ijamh.2012.020, November 2011

Publication History

Received:
2011-01-07
Revised:
2011-03-07
Accepted:
2011-03-20
Published Online:
2011-11-29

Abstract

Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the knowledge, attitudes, and practices about HIV/AIDS of high school students in Panama City, Panama and the impact of a peer-to-peer intervention project.

Methods: There were 659 participants in two public and two private schools, one of each got the intervention and the other serving as control. A questionnaire was used as a pretest and post-test to measure the effects of the intervention. The intervention consisted of 12 weekly sessions led by professionally trained peers using four different modalities: theater, group dynamics, videos, and discussions.

Results: The difference in the knowledge scores of the questionnaire resulted in an improvement in both the private (ES=0.63) and the public (ES=0.52) schools with the intervention. Another important finding was that the idea of abstinence as disease prevention for high school students rose from 7% to 60% (public school) and from 27% to 62% (private school) in response to an open-ended question.

Conclusions: There were other significant positive findings that demonstrate the efficacy of this peer-to-peer model educating high school students about lowering the risks of contracting HIV/AIDS. This model could also be used to prevent or mitigate other risky behaviors.

Keywords: adolescents; attitudes and practices (KAP); educational impact; HIV prevention; knowledge; peer education intervention

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