STUDY OBJECTIVES--To evaluate the impact of an AIDS education programme designed for young adults. DESIGN--A randomised trial with a pre-post test design. SETTING--Participants were drawn from six youth training centres in the city of Nottingham, England. STUDY POPULATION--All trainees aged 16-19 years attending the six centres were included in the sample and centres were randomly allocated to experimental (n = 173) and control (n = 164) groups. The response rate to both questionnaires was high (71%). MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--Data on sexual behaviour, knowledge, and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS were obtained by confidential questionnaire. Two thirds of the sample were sexually active. There were no differences between groups at pre-test and no differences by sex. The experimental group had a significantly higher level of knowledge than the control group post-test. Significantly more experimental than control trainees knew post-test that HIV could be transmitted via anal sex and through broken skin. In addition, twice as many experimental (53%) as control trainees (25%; p < 0.001) were aware that a cure for AIDS was unlikely in the near future. There were no observed effects on sexual behaviour, intentions, or attitudes. CONCLUSIONS--The Streetwize UK educational programme had a significant impact on young adults' knowledge of HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention in the short term. If community based AIDS education is to do more than merely inform, however, resources must be made available for peer led interventions and skills training.
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