Results of a model AIDS prevention program for high school students in the Philippines.AIDS. 1995 Jul; 9 Suppl 1:S7-13.AIDS
To describe the sexual practices of high school students; to describe the process of development of a school-based AIDS prevention program; and to evaluate the effect of this program on students' AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes and AIDS-preventive behaviors.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS
A cluster-randomized, controlled trial with pretest/post-test evaluation was conducted in four demographically similar public high schools in a semi-urban district of Metro Manila, the Philippines. Of 845 high school students who participated in the baseline survey, 804 (95%) completed a postintervention questionnaire.
An AIDS prevention program was developed by public high school teachers together with local AIDS experts, social scientists and health educators. The teacher-led AIDS program was designed to provide students with accurate information about AIDS, particularly in dispelling misconceptions about casual contagion, to foster positive attitudes towards people with AIDS and to develop skills aimed at clarifying values and assessing intended behavior.
At baseline, 11% of students (20% of males and 4% of females) reported ever having had sexual intercourse (mean age 14 years). Among these, condom use was low (24%). After implementation of the AIDS prevention program, statistically significant effects favoring the intervention group were observed in knowledge and attitudes towards people with AIDS. While there was no statistically significant overall effect on intended preventive behavior, the program appeared to delay the students' intended onset of sexual activity.
A sizable number of Filipino high school students are sexually active but condom use is low. School-based AIDS prevention programs can be developed and implemented in developing countries with the assistance of school personnel to address sexual issues. Our program was successful in increasing AIDS-related knowledge and improving attitudes towards people with AIDS. Supplementation with other preventive activities may be needed to achieve lasting changes in students' risk-taking behavior.