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Effectiveness of an elder versus same age peer in the school setting to influence attitude and behavioural change amongst adolescents in Jamaica

Sanjana Ajey Bhardwaj, MD, MPH, Hope Ramsay, MPH, Vivienne Hinds, MPH, and Brendan Bain, DM, MPH. Department of Community Health and Psychiatry, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Gibraltar Camp Road, Kingston, 7, Jamaica, (876) 970 0377, drsanjana_b@yahoo.com

AIDS is now the leading cause of death in the 15 to 44 year age group in the Caribbean. There has been a heavy emphasis on descriptive studies on individual behavior involving knowledge, attitudes, practices, and behavior of adolescents. A behavior disconnect between the knowledge young people clearly have and the translation of this knowledge into practice has been observed. Peer influence on different behaviors not only during adolescence but also at every stage in life and also in different social and work settings has been well recognized worldwide. In the Goal Oriented Adolescent Life Skills (GOALS) study, peer educators from the seventh and ninth grades conducted sessions for students studying in the seventh grade in schools. The outcomes in terms of change in knowledge, attitudes and high - risk behaviors in the students were measured. Further, students completed a peer educator assessment form that helped to look for differences in rapport between seventh and ninth grade peers. The study helped to further understand the potential of peer educator programs for influencing behavior change in a school setting. Further, the challenges and opportunities with an elder versus same age peer as an interventionist in a school setting are described. The recommendations from the study would help in designing peer educator driven school programs for HIV /AIDS prevention.

Learning Objectives: At the end of the session, participants will be able to

Keywords: Adolescents, International, Peer Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: University of the West Indies

International Perspective: HIV/AIDS Around the Globe

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA