Youth Training Program on HIV/AIDS Prevention

Since 2009, Fundación VIHDA has developed various HIV prevention programs for teens, as well as peer counseling training programs so young adults can assist each other in understanding and protecting themselves from HIV.

One such program called “How much do you know about HIV and AIDS” was conducted from 2009 until 2013 and educated and trained 21,223 young people as direct beneficiaries. Participating high schools in Guayaquil have included: Francisco Huerta Rendón, Rita Lecumberri, Otto Arosemena Gómez, Batalla de Tarqui, Ati II Pillahauso, Colegio Amazonas, Instituto Suárez, Espíritu Santo, and Colegio Huancavilca.

In 2012 we also ran a program called “Habla Serio…Vamos Juntos por la Vida” (Speak Frankly… Come Together for Life) which educated and sensitized more than 3,000 youths in various rural areas of Ecuador’s most populated province, Guayas, and where over 50% of HIV/AIDS cases have been reported in the country.

What is “Pilas Ahí… Del VIH y SIDA Se Habla Aquí”

“Pilas Ahí”, our new educational program created in 2013, was fully designed by staff from the Education and Mental Health departments of Fundacion VIHDA. We developed this program by using our past experiences with prevention programs for adolescents as a reference and focusing more on the teens themselves. Sessions are now more dynamic and practical with simple, understandable and friendly language, seeking to strengthen public speaking skills as a method of prevention.

Why do we do it?

According to data provided by the Ministry of Health, over 60% of people with HIV are between 15-35 years of age; 76% are reported in coastal provinces, with our home province of Guayas alone counting over 50% of all detected HIV and AIDS cases in the country. Hence we believe education is the key to changing risky behavior among youth and this initiative is essential to promote responsible health practices among youth in the most affected areas of the country.

Fundacion VIHDA believes that after atending these educational sessions, adolescents become agents of prevention, sharing their knowledge with their peers on topics such as: basics of HIV and AIDS, methods of virus transmission, forms of prevention, sexuality, and laboratory testing.

How do we do it?

“Pilas Ahí” highlights natural abilities of adolescents so they can become agents of prevention for their peers.

We select young people who demonstrate leadership and enthusiasm, in coordination with DOBES (Department of Guidance and Student Welfare), to participate in an intensive training in HIV prevention which is measured by a pre test (given to students in the first session to measure the level of knowledge at the beginning of the program) and post test (in the final session, the same questions, after completing the training). The concept of the questionnaires are based on: basic concepts of HIV, perceived risk of developing infections, ways of transmitting the virus, level of stigma and discrimination among young people, etc.  

The program is conducted in five theoretical and practical sessions. Each session is designed to last approximately 120 minutes during extra-curricular hours, in which 15-20 students per high school learn about HIV and AIDS. Sessions combine theoretical empowerment, development of speaking skills, and development of life skills.

“Pilas Ahí” provides a workbook to each student, which contains theoretical support, properly explaining the material that is taught in each session so that students they can replicate it. The material has a user friendly format and specific messages on prevention, hence becoming a suitable tool for students in their future interactions with peers.

Once the program “Pilas Ahí” is finished, students are trained to present the information in their respective high schools, either classroom by classroom, in health fairs organized and coordinated by Fundación VIHDA, or in larger presentations in auditoriums.

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Students also become youth volunteers for Fundación VIHDA, supporting HIV prevention initiatives in places of need, giving them the opportunity to have closer contact with the general community.

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Translated by Rachel Mestnik, Peace Corps 2014; Edited by Fundacion VIHDA 

 

SOBRE NOSOTROS

Somos una organización ciudadana sin fines de lucro que:

Lucha por detener la transmisión madre-hijo del VIH durante el embarazo, parto y lactancia.
Educa sobre qué es, cómo se transmite, cómo se previene y cómo se trata el VIH/Sida.
Promociona la realización y fácil acceso a pruebas voluntarias de VIH.
Asiste a personas viviendo con el VIH/SIDA a acceder a servicios médicos, psicológicos y sociales disponibles.