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HIV/AIDS Prevention: Peer Influence Plays Key Role in AIDS-Protective Behavior by Ghanaian Youth

December 1, 2003

Recently, U.S. scientists examined "interpersonal communication about reproductive health information among Ghanaian youth, and the association of this communication with different types of reported AIDS-preventive behaviors." "Contacts of peer educators in Ghana were surveyed at three sites during April 1998," wrote R.C. Wolf and coauthors working with the Agency for International Development in Washington. Respondents ages 11-26 were included in the analysis (n=490).

"Youth who talked with both peers and adults (n=90) were 2.08 times more likely to report having done anything to protect themselves from AIDS than those who talked to no one (n=202), while those who talked with peers only (n=150) were 1.71 times more likely to have done something to protect themselves from AIDS," the investigators found.

"Youth who talked with adults only were not significantly more likely to protect themselves from AIDS than those who spoke with no one (n=42)," the study stated. "Sexually active youth were more than twice as likely to talk to peers as adults. Specific AIDS-protective behaviors reported by youth differed substantially depending on whether their contact source was peers or adults," according to the report.

"Understanding the interrelationship between peer and adult influence allows program managers to design increasingly effective programs," the researchers concluded.

The study, "The Influence of Peer Versus Adult Communication on AIDS-Protective Behaviors Among Ghanaian Youth," appeared in the Journal of Health Communication (2003;8(5):463-474).

Back to other news for December 1, 2003

Adapted from:
AIDS Weekly

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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