University students represent a subset of young men and women at risk for HIV in high prevalence settings. Innovative programs are needed to raise awareness on the unique issues around HIV and AIDS in the university campus, while training student leaders for peer-based education. The Process and Collaboration for Empowerment and Discussion (PACED) method engages artists and people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) to create a performance that encourages community dialog about HIV and AIDS and empowers PLWHA. 'This is My Story' was a program at the University of Malawi, Chancellor College, which adapted the PACED approach for university students. A qualitative evaluation conducted 1 year later among students and PLWHA participants and audience members demonstrated retention of the following themes: (i) trust in a relationship and how it affects women,(ii) equality for PLWHA and (iii) life after HIV and AIDS. All of the PLWHA and 90.9% of student participants reported a greater sense of empowerment. Of the audience members, 82.1% discussed the performance with friends and family. We thus present the PACED approach as a valuable tool in HIV and AIDS education and prevention among university students in Malawi.
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