Differences in AIDS prevention among young men and women of public schools in Brazil

OBJECTIVES: To investigate risk sexual for HIV infection among young adult night school students (18 to 25 years old) and to assess gender differences in sexual practices and the impact of AIDS prevention program. METHODS: A longitudinal intervention study was carried out among students of four public inner-city night schools, in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, randomized into two groups: an intervention group and a control one. Three hundred and ninety-four students participated in the study; 77% completed the post-intervention questionnaire. The intervention consisted of a "Safer Sex Workshop" where the following topics were discussed: Aids symbolism, risk perception, influences of gender norms on attitudes, Aids-related knowledge, erotic and reproductive body, sexual pleasure, and condom use negotiation. Statistical analysis was performed using Pearson's Chi-square test and variance. RESULTS: The frequency of condom use was low (33%). There were significant gender differences concerning sexuality and AIDS prevention. Workshop evaluation showed a statistically significant impact on women, who improved chiefly their attitudes regarding safer sex. Changes were not significant among men. CONCLUSIONS: HIV risk infection can be lowered but more significant results can be achieved if gender differences and sexual scripts are taken into account while developing specific long-term community programs.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; HIV; Men; Women; Sex behavior; Students; Knowledge, attitudes, practice; Health promotion; Health education; Schools; Public sector; HIV infections; Result evaluation of preventive actions; Gender

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