Information and Prevention on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (HIV/AIDS/STDs) to High-School Students in Lazio, Italy
Project location: ITALY, Lazio
Project start date: June 2012 - Project end date: This project covers various years
Project number: 2012-045
Beneficiary: Associazione Nazionale per la Lotta contro L'AIDS - Sezione Laziale
Timeline of this Final Report: September 2013 to December 2014
Every year in Italy there are about 4000 new cases of HIV infection and, in the same period, a teenager out 20 incurs a STD.
Young people are the most vulnerable and the reasons are: multiple partners relationships, misinformation and /or underestimation about infection, use of alcohols and drugs, indifference to be subjected to medical checks. Therefore, Anlaids Lazio Onlus promotes Schools Project since 2003/2004. The targets are always the same, and in particularly:
1. To increase knowledges about HIV/AIDS/STD,
2. To reflect on risk behavior
3. To prevent HIV/AIDS/STD.
Most important part of this plan is the involvement of students: they may proceed from listeners to protagonists of their life and their experience.
The project developes in three steps:
1.1- Pre-test : it is required in order to value student's knowledge about HIV disease and infection
1.2- Fixed meetings: The schools, that have agreed on the project ,usually ask for regular meetings with experts. The operators are doctors, psychologists, biologists come from the " INMI Lazzaro Spallanzani", many Anlaids Lazio volunteers and, on request, HIV positive people. Their task is to explain the differences among HIV, AIDS and STD.
During these lessons some slides are shown to give an example of clinical cases or risky situations before which the unconscious students could find themselves.
This stage is called " basic" , in opposite to " in-depth course " placed in more advanced classrooms.
1.3- Post-test: the operators , at the end of the meetings, give the post-tests, in order to verify and compare the new level of knowledge.
During 2013/2014 the schools involved in the plan have been 52 (49 in Rome; 3 in Latina;); 8500 students have been reached; basic courses have been 172 ( HIV/AIDS) and 30 " in-depth course" (HIV/AIDS/STD).
2. Assessment of phases
Analysing the pre-tests filled by students, we note that HIV transmission goes by:
- blood 72%
- semen 62%
- vaginal discharges 51%
- pre-ejaculatory fluid 26% .
2.2- Basic meeting
The operators (an expert one and a volunteer) explain, through dias, what is HIV, how it interacts with the human body and the immune system; particularly the paths used (ducts ) . Moreover they answer all questions , clarify doubts and suggest methods of prevention. Afterwards they give:
After these lessons, students change up the percentages about the transmission of virus:
- blood 92%
- vaginal discharges 72%
- pre-ejaculatory fluid 51%.
These numbers indicate an increase in correct answers, and show the importance of a continuous and urgent information.
In this section the operators must deepen the STD, the means of transmission and prevention using tests as well as other forms of interaction: i.e. role playing.
Despite the more advanced courses, in these tests still are wrong answers, expecially regarding the ducts ( not all the sexual fluids are dangerous); someone writes that it's hard to live near a HIV positive, but no one has doubts to wear condom in intercourses.
Regarding the " window period" only 40% has given a correct answer. 1/5 has considered it the incubation period.
3.2- In- depth meeting
During these courses students learn all the STD, their infection and how to prevent.
3.3- -Post test
At last the right answers have come . If someone forgets to mention the pre-ejaculatory fluid, someone else adds infected breast milk, although it wasn't among the options. .
In general terms more than 75% of students knows what STD are, the existence of anonymous laboratory test, how to prevent infection.
Tests show different degree of interest and participation among the students, but they want to speak, to be heard and informed. Anlaids Lazio has always believed in educational process for young peoples health, and this research wants to prove.