Objective: To test the effects of an HIV/AIDS education program. Design: A quasi-experimental, nested cross-sectional design including baseline and 6-month follow-up surveys. Schools, stratified according to location, were randomly assigned to intervention (n=6) or comparison conditions (n=12). Setting: Public primary schools in Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions, Tanzania. Participants: A total of 2026 sixth and seventh grade pupils (average age, 14.0 years) participated at baseline (85%) and 1785 at follow-up. Intervention: The program was designed to reduce children's risk of HIV infection and to improve their tolerance of and care for people with AIDS. Local teachers and health workers attended a 1-week training workshop before implementing the program over a 2-3-month period (averaging 20 school hours per class). Main outcome measures: Self-reported exposure to AIDS information, communication regarding AIDS; AIDS knowledge, attitudes towards people with AIDS, attitudes towards having sexual intercourse, subjective norms regarding sexual intercourse, and intention to engage in sexual intercourse. Results: Following this program, intervention pupils reported significantly higher scores for the following outcome measures than pupils attending the comparison schools: AIDS information (13.1 versus 10.5; P=0.0001), AIDS communication (10.9 versus 7.8; P=0.0001) AIDS knowledge (14.5 versus 11.5; P=0.0001), attitudes towards people with AIDS (9.0 versus 6.7; P= 0.0008), subjective norms (45.5 versus 43.9; P=0.011), and intention (1.3 versus 1.4; P=0.020). No program effect was seen for attitudes towards sexual intercourse (47.0 versus 46.3, P=0.44). Conclusions: These results indicate that it is feasible and effective to provide AIDS education for Tanzanian primary school children.
- AIDS education
- School children