20th International AIDS Conference - Melbourne, Australia


MOPE357 - Poster Exhibition

Safe from harm: a parent-to-child communication tool on sexuality and HIV prevention

L. Simbeye, A. Sakala

Afya Mzuri, Lusaka, Zambia

Background: Five percent of Zambian adolescents are HIV-positive, yet the national infrastructure has been ill-equipped at providing facilities and health programmes that prioritize a youth-friendly approach. Therefore it is important to implement grassroots interventions that focus on fostering safe environments within which parents and youth can discuss sexuality and safe health practices.
Description: From December 2009 to March 2010, the ''Safe from Harm'' manual developed by USAID was adapted into a pilot programme in the Copperbelt and Luapula regions of Zambia. Using a roll-out model, 100 adolescent-adult pairs (called role model mentors) were trained to each facilitate ten parents and adolescents, aged 16-19, over a five-day period through communication and behaviour change activities using a youth-centered framework. Of 2,389 participants, 120 (5.0%) were randomly selected to complete a semi-structured knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) instrument during the pre-test, post-test and 3-month follow-up. The instrument tested knowledge levels and attitudes towards HIV and AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), condom use, and voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) of HIV. It also assessed reported behavioural practices among adolescents and levels of communication within families on sexual and reproductive health issues.
Lessons learned: Between the pre-test and 3-month follow-up, there was an 8.2% increase in participants who cited abstinence, 40.7% in those who cited faithfulness and 16.8% in those who cited condom use as HIV prevention methods. With an increase of almost 20% from pre-test levels, 88.1% of respondents had discussed sex in the past three months. 25.8 percent of respondents used condoms every time they had sexual intercourse at pre-test, increasing to 66.1% at follow-up. When asked to list discussed topics, HIV and AIDS, STIs, pregnancy and abstinence were found to be the most discussed topics between parents and children, while homosexuality and masturbation were the least discussed; however, all topics were discussed by more parent-child pairs at follow-up than at pre-test levels.
Conclusions/Next steps: Given the significant impact and acceptance of the programme, there is potential to identify and train more facilitators from the two Zambian regions in order to reach more participants and incorporate home visitation and one-to-one discussions.

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