Educational impact of peer-intervention on the knowledge and attitudes about HIV/AIDS in adolescents in Panama

Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2012;24(2):135-41. doi: 10.1515/ijamh.2012.020. Epub 2011 Nov 29.


Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the knowledge, attitudes, and practices about HIV/AIDS of high school students in Panama City, Panama and the impact of a peer-to-peer intervention project.

Methods: There were 659 participants in two public and two private schools, one of each got the intervention and the other serving as control. A questionnaire was used as a pretest and post-test to measure the effects of the intervention. The intervention consisted of 12 weekly sessions led by professionally trained peers using four different modalities: theater, group dynamics, videos, and discussions.

Results: The difference in the knowledge scores of the questionnaire resulted in an improvement in both the private (ES=0.63) and the public (ES=0.52) schools with the intervention. Another important finding was that the idea of abstinence as disease prevention for high school students rose from 7% to 60% (public school) and from 27% to 62% (private school) in response to an open-ended question.

Conclusions: There were other significant positive findings that demonstrate the efficacy of this peer-to-peer model educating high school students about lowering the risks of contracting HIV/AIDS. This model could also be used to prevent or mitigate other risky behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Health Education* / methods
  • Health Education* / organization & administration
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Panama
  • Peer Group
  • Program Evaluation
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires