Background Rapid physical and psychosocial development, wrong information, tendency to experiment and sociocultural sensitivity to discuss issues around sexuality make young people vulnerable to HIV. In 2009, young people aged 15–24 accounted for 41% of new HIV infections in people aged > 15. The objective of this evaluation was to analyse the impact of comprehensive HIV/AIDS Youth Peer Education Program (April 2008-March 2011) on knowledge, attitude and behaviour of targeted youths comparing with those without any such intervention.
Methods As part of evaluation in February–March 2011, a sample of 26 programme schools was chosen (confidence level of 95% and confidence interval of +/- 15%). One non-programme school was selected for every two sample programme schools. The multistage stratified systematic random sampling method was deployed for selection of students and self-administered structured questionnaires were given. Descriptive statistics, graphical representations and cross tabulation of relevant factors were used for data analysis. Also, z and chi - square tests were applied at relevant places.
Results Overall knowledge about HIV/AIDS was found significantly better in schools having peer education mechanism. Awareness on HIV testing centres was more among programme students (92%) in-comparison to non-programme student (62%). Most students from programme schools (99%) indicated positive attitude towards people living with HIV than non-programme students (39%). Adaptations of ‘prevention methods’ was high in programme students (91%) than in non-programme students (53%). Most of the programme students reported getting influenced to adopt safe sex practises (z-6.062, p-0.0001). Statistically significant no. of parents of programme students reported noticing improvement in inter-personal behaviour of their children (z-8.411, p-0.0001).
Conclusion Comprehensive youth peer education with integrated ‘life skills’ and ‘community links’ components can be the strategy for India and many other countries who are struggling for a comprehensive, culturally appropriate, sustainable and cost-effective strategy for adolescent/youth education on HIV/AIDS.
- behavior change
- impact evaluation