HIV Prevention in Action on the Football Field: The Whizzkids United Program in South Africa
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The Africaid Trust is a grassroots South African non-profit organization that engages youth in HIV prevention by harnessing the popularity of football (i.e. soccer). WhizzKids United, the organization’s primary program, operates a 12-week program in elementary schools in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, which aims to impart knowledge and life skills critical to HIV prevention. The goal of this research was to compare elementary school youth who received the program to youth who only received traditional classroom-based HIV education on health behaviors and HIV-related knowledge and stigma. A secondary objective was to evaluate HIV knowledge, sexual behaviors, attitudes towards HIV and health care seeking behaviors among South African youth in grades 9–12. Elementary students who participated in the program reported greater HIV knowledge and lower HIV stigma (p < .001) than those who had not. The majority of youth in grades 9–12 report having sexual relations (55.6 %), despite low levels of HIV testing (29.9 %) in this high HIV prevalence region of South Africa. The results highlight the importance of supporting community-based HIV educational initiatives that engage high-risk youth in HIV prevention and the need for youth-friendly health services.
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- HIV Prevention in Action on the Football Field: The Whizzkids United Program in South Africa
AIDS and Behavior
Volume 17, Issue 6 , pp 2045-2052
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
- Additional Links
- WhizzKids United
- HIV prevention
- HIV education
- South Africa
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Faculty of Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital, The University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
- 2. Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada
- 7. The Ottawa Hospital, 501 Smyth Road, Room 7300 General Campus, Ottawa, ON, K1H 8L6, Canada
- 3. The Africaid Trust, Whizzkids United, Durban, South Africa
- 4. Department of Medicine, Edendale Hospital, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
- 5. Health Systems Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa
- 6. School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa