After completing qualitative interviews, we have begun conducting surveys to gather information about a larger number of youth. Our goal is to include 300 youth in grades 5 through 8 and their caregivers. Youth were randomly selected from school rosters with the goal of recruiting a sample representative of youth in Muhuru. The sample is stratified by location, meaning that more students were selected from more populated areas.
The survey data will provide information to guide the development of strategies to prevent HIV and improve youth well-being in Muhuru. The following are questions the survey data will help address:
• Mental Health: How common is depression among youth? How do youth cope with challenges? What is the rate of exposure to traumatic events and symptoms of traumatic stress?
• Family Support and Communication: Do youth feel supported by their caregivers? How much are parents monitoring the activities of their children? Are youth and parents discussing issues of HIV and AIDS?
• HIV Knowledge: Do youth and caregivers have accurate knowledge about HIV transmission?
• Socioeconomic Factors: How often are caregivers able to provide their children’s basic needs? How are the youth earning money themselves?
• HIV Risk: When do boys and girls become sexually active? Are they using condoms? How many partners do they have? Who are their partners?
How will this information help develop a prevention program??
We will be able to examine how youths’ HIV risk behavior may be related to their mental health, family support/communication, socioeconomic situation, and HIV knowledge. We will then know which factors we should prioritize in an intervention to decrease HIV risk behavior.
One Example: If ratings of communication between parents and youth are highly related to whether youth become sexually active at an early age, improving parent-youth communication is likely to be an important aspect of an HIV prevention program.
For those less interested in these research details and more interested in pictures, I updated my Picasa albums recently: http://picasaweb.google.com/evepuffer