Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

A Comparative Evaluation of Two Interventions for Educator Training in HIV/AIDS in South Africa

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

A Comparative Evaluation of Two Interventions for Educator Training in HIV/AIDS in South Africa

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to compare two different methods to teach educators about HIV/AIDS. Sixty educators were selected from eight schools in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa, to undergo HIV/AIDS training using an interactive CD-ROM intervention. Another sixty educators from other schools were selected to undergo a two-day Life Skills Training Programme provided by the Department of Education. The outcomes both before and after the interventions were measured by surveying the educators' knowledge and attitudes related to HIV/AIDS, as well as their self-efficacy with respect to dealing with HIV/AIDS in the classroom setting. Both interventions resulted in significant changes in knowledge and attitudes as well as in the self-efficacy with respect to ability to teach about HIV/AIDS and to deal with classroom situations involving HIV and blood. The Life Skills Training Programme proved superior in enhancing basic knowledge about HIV, and the CD-ROM was superior in teaching about HIV transmission risks.

INTRODUCTION

South Africa is at the epicentre of the HIV/AIDS epidemic severely affecting nearly all countries in sub Saharan Africa. South Africa has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world. The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in 2008 estimates South Africa has the most HIV positive individuals in the world with the number of people living with HIV totaling 5 700 000 [Cl. - 4 900 000 - 6 600 000], with the prevalence rate for adults aged 15 to 49 being 18.1% [Cl. - 15.4% - 20.9%], the number of adults aged 15 and up living with HIV totaling 5 400 000 [Cl.- 4 700 000 - 6 200 000] , with women aged 15 and up living with HIV being disproportionally affected totaling 3 200 000 [Cl. - 2 800 000 - 3 700 000], the number of children aged 0 to 14 living with HIV totaling 280 000 [Cl. - 230 000 - 320 000] and with the number of deaths due to AIDS in 2007 totaling 350 000 [Cl. - 270 000 - 420 000]. Because a vaccine against HIV is unlikely to be available in the foreseeable future and national antiretroviral treatment programs are very costly to the society as a whole, prevention through behavioral change remains an important vehicle to check the spread of the virus.

Two recent population based surveys with biomarkers for HIV reveal that the age group that has the lowest HIV prevalence is among children 19 years of age or younger. One study estimates that while adults age 25 and older have an HIV prevalence of 15.5%, the HIV prevalences for 1524 year olds and for 2-14 year olds are 9.3% and 5.6%, respectively (Shisana and Simbayi, 2002). In fact, boys and girls 19 years or younger have average HIV prevalence rates of 4.5% and 6.5%, respectively, much lower than the national average. This numerical trend is corroborated by another population based survey of young South Africans, which found that while adults age 25 and older have an HIV prevalence of 15.5%, the HIV prevalences for 15-24 year olds and for 2-14 year olds are 9.3% and 5.6%, respectively (Shisana, Rehle et al, 2005). In fact, boys and girls 19 years or younger have average HIV prevalence rates of 4.5% and 6.5%, respectively, much lower than the national average.

These statistics indicate that even though some school-age children are already infected, the individuals most likely to be HIV-free are among 5-14 year olds and 15-19 year olds, which also is the age group most likely to be in primary and secondary school. This presents an invaluable window of opportunity for the teaching of life skills conducive to the continuation of HIV-free lifestyle, by disseminating the proper prevention information and techniques is the classroom. However, educators may not have enough knowledge and skills to take this task to fruition.

Some recent studies suggest that school educators in South Africa have HIV prevalence and AIDS mortality that may be at least as high as, if not higher than, the general population - despite the fact that educators should be more cognizant of various prevention skills and HIV risks (Shisana, Peltzer et al. …

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