Haiti: Youth Participation Key in HIV Prevention Programs (August 2006)


The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is involving youth in its efforts to strengthen HIV/AIDS prevention. The strategy focuses on promoting abstinence and faithfulness, while also creating a supportive family and community environment for discussing HIV/AIDS.

Dedicated and responsible young people are getting involved in a variety of HIV prevention activities. Through the program, Haitian youth have actively participated in:

  • The development of a strategy to reach youth with messages about abstinence and faithfulness;
  • A workshop to design messages and materials promoting abstinence and faithfulness with posters, leaflets, booklets, audio messages and TV spots;
  • A workshop to develop radio programs promoting communication between parents and their children;
  • An interactive radio program on social norms, abstinence and faithfulness; and
  • An effort to improve the quality of services offered to young people using a participatory approach called "partnership defined quality."

In addition to learning more about HIV prevention, youth involved in program development gain experience and confidence that will be of great value in the future. These skills help youth build self-esteem as they work with adults toward a common goal. Youth who have participated in training activities are highly effective in providing information to their peers and discussing issues such as sex, risky behavior and HIV/AIDS prevention.

Community outreach interventions implemented through partnerships with local organizations helped to reach more than 200,000 young adults and their parents with messages promoting abstinence and faithfulness from October 2005 to March 2006. The Johns Hopkins University Health Communication Partnership plans to scale up these prevention efforts by expanding to other audiences, such as orphans and vulnerable children.


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