Project H: Working with Young Men

ISSUE: Four Latin American NGOs have collaborated with PROMUNDO Institute (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) since 1998 to call greater attention to the needs and realities of young men ages 15-24 in sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and gender violence prevention, and to engage them in HIV/AIDS prevention. DESCRIPTION: With support from PAHO, WHO, USAID and IPPF/WHR, the organizations collated their direct experience with young men in HIV/AIDS prevention and sexual health in a series of four training workbooks for health educators in Spanish, Portuguese and English. The materials were field-tested with 195 young men aged 15-24 in 5 countries in Latin America (Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia and Colombia) and in Jamaica. They also developed an educational, cartoon video that presents gender stereotypes and encourages young men to question their negative views about sexuality. RESULTS: Qualitative results of the field test revealed: the importance of young men working at least part-time in male-only groups; increased empathy to caregiving for individuals living with AIDS; and increased questioning of patriarchal values. As another indicator of success, many of the young men told their peers about the issues discussed in the group. Several of them said that the activities enabled them to talk about gender and sexuality in a non-competitive way with peers. Measured by a pre and post-test, after implementation of the manuals, a difference in self-perception of risk for HIV/AIDS and increase in favorable attitudes toward condom use were found. LESSONS LEARNED: Interest in these issues led the boys to ask for more groups. The boys said that they would like to have more time with a group and have further discussions on gender, masculinity, violence, and HIV/AIDS. Many groups suggested additional themes such as developing couple relationships and the use of basic audiovisual presentations with information about violence, gender, substance use, sexuality, HIV/AIDS. Please see the attachment below, in five parts (pdf).