213992 El Salvador: Youth group helps improve reproductive health and prevent HIV infection among 4,000 adolescents

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rosa Margarita Alvarado , Health Department, Plan International, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Anabell Amaya , Health Department, Plan International, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Luis Tam, MD DrPH , Plan USA, Arlington, VA
BACKGROUND. Youth from poor populations in El Salvador are exposed to early sexual initiation, early pregnancy and a high risk of HIV infection. THE PROJECT. In 2005 and for four years, Plan International, a child-centered humanitarian organization, helped in the development of a youth organization in the department of Chalatenango to improve reproductive health and prevent HIV infection among adolescents living in 28 high-risk municipalities. Project strategies included awareness campaigns (e.g. youth peer educators), community activities (e.g. youth clubs), and facilitating the access of youth to preventive and integral healthcare services. RESULTS. One the most successful youth groups was based in the town of Citalá, Chalatenango, and comprised 10 men and 6 women between 13 and 26 years old. In its three years of participation in the project, this group was responsible for educating 4,000 adolescents, distributing almost 11,000 condoms, as well to raise awareness among 2,572 truck drivers frequenting the border between El Salvador and Honduras. Group members have delivered project services at odd hours. One of their largest challenges has been the discrimination resulting from the sexual orientation of a number of the members. This discrimination was felt not only from institutions like the mayor's office and schools, but also from some of the local health establishment representatives. CONCLUSIONS. This experience shows the impact of external assistance to a relevant and motivated local partner. Today the network is very strong and highly recognized by the other networks, social organizations and governmental institutions.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the opportunities and challenging in supporting local youth groups to promote reproductive health and prevent HIV infection in developing countries.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I directed the project presented here
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.