Positive "Vibes" in Jamaica: drama helps teens, parents and teachers discuss sexuality and AIDS.

K. Henry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The threat of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and other sexual challenges facing young people are depicted with humor and creativity in Vibes in a World of Sexuality, a musical revue by the ASHE Caribbean Arts Ensemble, a Jamaican performing arts group of young people 8-19 years old. The Little People and Teen Players, another youth drama group, and ASHE have performed Vibes more than 100 times in 5 countries, reaching over 50,000 people. In the revue's allegorical world, strong sexual urges, jealousy, ignorance, disease, and guilt struggle to overcome the super safer sexual skills of self control, trust, knowledge, and communication. A series of skits and catchy songs show how these skills can influence the choices made by teenagers. The music is a mixture of pop, blues, and Afro-Caribbean rhythms. Catherine Brokenshire, the resident advisor for the AIDSCAP Project in Jamaica and the US Agency for International Development Mission in Jamaica, decided to support 60 Vibes performances in Jamaican schools, youth clubs, communities, and churches. 20 audience members were asked to fill out a questionnaire about STDs and their transmission before and after each performance to assess whether it had changed their knowledge or attitudes about sex and STDs. An analysis of 100 sets of the forms found a 20% increase in correct answers to these questions. Each performance is followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer period. The most common questions are about handling peer pressure, talking to parents about sex and dating, and obtaining condoms. AIDSCAP is supporting the development of a manual to help teachers lead discussions with students after they see Vibes. Educational materials are available at every performance with addresses and phone numbers for Jamaica AIDS Support, The Family Center, and the Ministry of Health's Helpline, where people can request more information or assistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-19
Number of pages3
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1993


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