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AIDS. 1997 Sep;11 Suppl 1:S111-9.

Traditional Balinese youth groups as a venue for prevention of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

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Udayana University AIDS Working Group and Citra Usadha Indonesia Foundation, Bali, Indonesia.



Our aims were to assess the feasibility of conducting peer-led educational interventions against AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) through traditional Balinese youth groups and to gather information on sexual risk-taking and its correlates among Balinese youth.


A cross-sectional survey was conducted, with follow-up questionnaires for pilot intervention participants.


A self-administered questionnaire was given to 375 subjects (aged 16-25 years) from 12 youth groups representing four main resort areas in Bali. Post-intervention data were collected from 97 of these subjects who had taken part in pilot educational programs. Focus groups supplemented survey data in evaluating the intervention and understanding risk behaviors.


In a cross-sectional survey, one-quarter of males and few females reported sexual activity; subsequent focus groups suggested under-reporting by females. While knowledge and worries about HIV/AIDS were high, only 10% of sexually active males and no females reported consistent condom use. The mean age of first sexual intercourse was highly correlated with first alcohol consumption (P = 0.0003). Peer educators from selected youth groups planned and implemented interventions for their own groups. Post-intervention data indicated significant increases in communication about sexual issues with friends and parents. Condom attitudes became less negative and efficacy increased. Participants reported this as a first experience with peer-led health education, preferred interactive activities to adult-led lectures and recommended follow-up educational sessions.


Peer educators from traditional youth groups can plan and conduct prevention programs for HIV/STDs that are well-received by their group memberships. Using such venues may be an efficient way to reach a wide range of pre-sexual Balinese youth, as well as those already at risk for HIV/STD due to unprotected sex, alcohol consumption and multiple sexual partners.


In a 1995 survey of Balinese youth, 75% expressed a desire to discuss sexual issues and AIDS/sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) with their peers. A cross-sectional survey of 375 young people 16-25 years of age assessed the feasibility of using traditional Balinese youth groups as a vehicle for peer-led AIDS education. In Bali virtually all youth, regardless of educational level or socioeconomic status, join the youth group in their neighborhood at puberty and remain members until they marry. The average age at first intercourse reported in the baseline survey was 18.8 years for males and 20.0 years for females. For 46% of sexually active males, intercourse was accompanied by alcohol consumption. Although youth had adequate knowledge of AIDS before the intervention, only 10% of sexually active males reported consistent condom use. Follow-up interviews with 97 young people from 3 resort areas of Bali who were exposed to the peer-led intervention revealed significant increases in communication about sexual matters with friends and family, more positive attitudes toward condoms, and increased condom use. Exposed youth who participated in focus group discussions expressed a preference for peer-led interactive activities over lectures and indicated they felt more comfortable asking their peers questions about sex. Use of peer educators from Balinese youth groups appears to represent an efficient way to reach young people before the initiation of sexual activity as well as those at high risk of AIDS and other STDs as a result of unprotected sex, alcohol consumption, and multiple sexual partners.

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