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AIDS. 1997 Sep;11 Suppl 1:S121-7.

Evaluating an AIDS sexual risk reduction program for young adults in public night schools in São Paulo, Brazil.

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AIDS Prevention Studies Nucleus (NEPAIDS), Institute of Psychology, University of São Paulo, Brazil.



To describe sexual risk for HIV infection among adult night school students in São Paulo, Brazil, and to evaluate the effect of an HIV/AIDS prevention workshop to reduce sexual risk.


A longitudinal study was conducted among four demographically similar public night schools in the inner city of São Paulo. Schools were randomized into intervention and control conditions. Of 394 young adults who took part in the baseline survey, 304 (77%) completed a postintervention questionnaire.


In a workshop consisting of four sessions of 3 h each, the students discussed AIDS symbolism, the impact of AIDS on their lives, risk perception, the way in which sexual norms shape knowledge and attitudes, AIDS-related knowledge, reproduction and sexual pleasure, and condom use negotiation. We fostered community-building through AIDS training courses for teachers in the schools, peer support programs and public events.


At baseline, 87% had been sexually active at some time and 76% had had sex in the past 6 months. Among those who reported vaginal intercourse and/or anal intercourse, condom use was low. The workshops were positively process-evaluated and supported by the community, the students, their teachers and their parents. We obtained statistically significant effects from the workshops for females only, who reported improved communication with partners about sex and AIDS and less unprotected sex with non-monogamous partners after the intervention.


These data show that the sexual risk of HIV infection can be lowered when Brazilian disenfranchized communities support AIDS prevention workshops. Even more impressive results may be achieved if the need to address socioeconomic obstacles and gendered sexual roles is emphasized through further long-term community development programs.

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