Risk-prone and non risky Decisions predicting life-skills naivete among young persons aged 9-20 years: Lessons for STI/HIV initiatives in Uganda

Published: February 19, 2012

BACKGROUND: This study of two groups randomized 1,886 young persons. The groups included those never introduced to life skills seminars (naive young persons [NYP] group) versus expert young persons who are beneficiaries of life skills seminars (the expert young persons [EYP] group). The NYP group, consisted participants who thought one does not get HIV when below 20 years. The EYP group is for those who could show grasp of comprehensive HIV knowledge. Decisions inform the early uptake of risk reduction skills. METHODS: Participants who were either life skills naive (n=900) or who had been receiving mentor-guided sessions (n=986) were analyzed. The following decisions were assessed: (i) young persons don’t catch the HIV disease; (ii) HIV transmitted through infected body fluids can infect anyone; (iii) non-AIDS events (touching, sending a valentine card, using plates, sending love letters, reading same books and being in same class); (iv) discriminating and stigmatizing PLHIV is wrong (v) the composite of decisions (ii), (iii) and (iv) and (vi) outcomes of (i) and (iii). RESULTS: A total of 900 participants in the NYP group responded affirmatively to (i) and 154 responded affirmatively to (iii), (iv) and (v). 986 responded affirmatively to (ii) and 760 responded affirmatively to (iii), (iv) and (v). CONCLUSIONS: Mentoring, peer to peer knowledge and skills sharing form a major source ofdecision-support for young persons to make risk reduction a life style.

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