The influence of peer versus adult communication on AIDS-protective behaviors among Ghanaian youth

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Who most influences youth’s AIDS-protective behaviors: peers, adults, or a combination of both? This paper explores interpersonal communication about reproductive health information among Ghanaian youth, and the association of this communication with different types of reported AIDS-preventive behaviors. Contacts of peer educators in Ghana were surveyed at three sites during April 1998. Respondents age 11 to 26 years were included in this analysis (N¼490). Youth who talked with both peers and adults (n=90) were 2.08 times more likely (95% CI: 1.23, 3.51) to report having done anything to protect themselves from AIDS than those who talked to no one (n=202), while those who talked with peers only (n=150) were 1.71 times more likely (95% CI: 1.10, 2.64) to have done something to protect themselves from AIDS. Youth who talked with adults only were not significantly more likely to protect themselves from AIDS than those who spoke with no one (n=42). Sexually active youth were more than twice as likely to talk to peers as adults. Specific AIDS-protective behaviors reported by youth differed substantially depending on whether their contact source was peers or adults. Understanding the interelationship between peer and adult influence allows program managers to design increasingly effective programs.






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