Interactive Activities to Raise Awareness of Risk Behaviors for Sexually Transmitted Infections, Including HIV/AIDS, Among Georgian Youth
Kakubava, N., Chachava, K., Gelashvili, T., & Djibuti, M. (2012, July). Interactive Activities to Raise Awareness of Risk Behaviors for Sexually Transmitted Infections, Including HIV/AIDS, Among Georgian Youth. Presented at AIDS 2012, Washington, DC.
The Republic of Georgia’s national HIV/AIDS strategy prioritizes HIV prevention activities for youth. The results of a behavioral surveillance survey conducted by the Georgia HIV Prevention Project (GHPP) in 2011 revealed that certain high-risk behaviors, such as unprotected sex, are common among Georgian youth, especially male students – 33.4% reported early sexual debut, among these 41.1% said their first-time partner was a female sex worker, and only 72.7% of these boys reported using a condom.
GHPP developed an innovative approach to increase awareness of high-risk factors and healthy lifestyle choices specifically targeting youth. The approach included a series of interactive activities including a website, photo and slogan competitions, essay contests, web-based quizzes, movie screenings, and role model/peer education sessions. All activities were designed according to evidence-based social marketing/behavior change communication principles, tailored to the Georgian context.
Given that youth in Georgia do not receive adequate information on STIs and HIV/AIDS through formal education, informal communication channels play a critical role in bridging youth knowledge gaps in sexual health. This GHPP study shows that interactive activities can be effective in reaching out to and educating youth about STIs and HIV/AIDS. It is important for these activities to be tailored to local needs, youth preferences, and available resources. Availability of resources in particular is a critical determinant of activity uptake; activities should be initiated only if it is determined that resources for their successful implementation are available or can be obtained in a timely manner.