Impact of HIV-Positive Speakers in a Multicomponent, School-Based HIV/STD Prevention Program for Inner-City Adolescents

Article excerpt

Markham, C., Baumler, E., Richesson, R., Parcel, G., Baseb-Enguist, K., Kok, G., Wilkerson, D. (2000). Impact of HIV-positive speakers in a multicomponent, school-based HIV/STD prevention program for inner-city adolescents. AIDS Education and Prevention, 12, 442-454.

Classroom or assembly based presentations by speakers with HIV or AIDS have become frequent activities for secondary schools. However, the precise educational objectives of these presentations often go unarticulated. Among the range of possible objectives is too increase empathy for people with HIV or AIDS, increase knowledge related to HIV transmission/prevention, and increase perceived risk for HIV infection among students. The number of studies that have evaluated the impact of guest speakers with HIV or AIDS is small and the results have been mixed.

Markam and colleagues examined the impact of HIV-positive speakers on inner-city, high school students in Texas as part of a multicomponent HIV prevention program. The evaluation of the HIV-positive speakers component was part of the wider evaluation of the Safer Choices program, a comprehensive school-based HIV, sexually transmitted disease, and pregnancy prevention program (see Sex Research Update in CJHS 9[1] and 8[2]).

   HIV-positive speakers were included, in several components of the program
   to communicate the realities of living with HIV. Speakers were asked to
   describe the impact of HIV or AIDS on their lives and long-term plans.
   Their primary role was in the 10th-grade curriculum, which included a
   presentation plus question and answer session, and a student homework
   assignment, "Re-thinking My Feelings" which was processed in the following
   class (p. 444).

As part of the larger randomized control trial evaluation of Safer Choices, the authors were able to compare students who heard the HIV-positive speaker as part of the multicomponent Safer Choices program to students in a subsection of the study's control group which consisted of students who heard the HIV-positive speaker in conjunction with a short 5-lesson knowledge-based HIV prevention program and to students in the control group who did not hear the speaker. …