Parents as HIV/AIDS Educators

Chapter

Abstract

Parents and caregivers play a special role in HIV prevention efforts for youth. Parents are able to reach youth early and in a non-controversial way. Parents can engage in continuous discussions about sex and sexuality, HIV, substance use, and sexual risk prevention. Having frequent contact with their children allows them to provide sequential and time-sensitive information that is immediately responsive to the child’s questions and anticipated needs. Parents and caregivers help youth shape and form healthy attitudes and behaviors, and support youth with supervision, positive reinforcement and skills building. Given the proper tools to harness their parenting and communication skills, parents and caregivers are a force to be reckoned with. There is a growing literature that highlights the important role parents and caregivers play in addressing teen substance use and sexual risk behavior; however, evidence-based interventions to strengthen parents’ role in HIV prevention or even in reproductive health promotion are rare and not widely disseminated. This chapter describes two evidence-based interventions, Parents Matter! and the Parent/Preadolescent Training for HIV (PATH) Prevention. Both are based on research addressing the need to intervene early, child–parent communication, and risk reduction science and strategies. Data on outcomes and description of the dissemination of these interventions are presented. Among the intriguing findings are that both projects were easily accepted by communities, both led to reported risk reduction or intention to reduce risk, and that improved communication may have generalized to create positive outcomes for risks other than those associated with HIV. Each intervention has found new audiences, through formal and informal pathways. A continuing challenge is to maintain and update interventions as new risks emerge and as new populations are at risk as the HIV epidemic changes.

Keywords

Hepatitis Income Abate Haas Harness 

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.City University of New York School of Public Health at Hunter CollegeNew YorkUSA

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