Global Youth Project Tailors Prevention Messages to Different Social and Political Contexts
April 29, 2003
University of Toronto researchers are heading an international collaboration to develop innovative strategies for educating youth about HIV/AIDS prevention. The project, Gendering Adolescent AIDS Prevention, involves young people in participatory research designed to tailor prevention messages to the different social and political contexts faced by youth around the globe. The GAAP team includes faculty and graduate students from the University of Toronto and McGill University in Canada as well as research collaborators in South Africa.Adapted from:
GAAP's research explores gender as a risk factor for HIV among youth in Canada and South Africa and focuses on developing gender-sensitive HIV/AIDS prevention programs. Although HIV/AIDS rates among youth are currently relatively low in Canada, a decade ago they were also low in some of the epidemic countries, said June Larkin, GAAP's principal investigator. "HIV rates are rising in youth -- and particularly in girls -- and we see youth as the best resource for changing the course of what's become a worldwide epidemic," she said.
The researchers' initial work drew on youth focus groups in Toronto and South Africa on issues related to HIV risk, but their approach also explores other participatory methodologies. GAAP recently sponsored a symposium at the University of Toronto called Taking Action that looked at ways for youth ages 16-25 to work together on arts-based HIV prevention strategies, with sessions on hip hop, graffiti, photography, drama and poetry. Taking Action was developed with guidance from a youth advisory board, and inspiration from a similar project launched in South Africa.
One of GAAP's goals is to connect youth in Toronto and South Africa through Web interaction. There are also plans with Professor Njoki Wane of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto to expand GAAP's research to Kenya. Making transnational links is important because forces of globalization in one place may have an impact on the risk of HIV/AIDS in another, Larkin said.
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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.