Communicating about HIV/AIDS Together (CHAT)
Addressing the HIV prevention Needs of Kenyan youth
Youth in Kenya represent a population that is vulnerable to HIV infection, especially those living in resource-poor rural communities. Rural regions present particular challenges to the delivery of standardized HIV prevention programs given their vast and often difficult physical terrain, and the presence of local languages and customs. In order to reach youth in rural Kenyan communities, indigenous peer educators can be vital resources for disseminating culturally and developmentally appropriate HIV prevention information.
Communicating about HIV/AIDS Together (CHAT) is an intervention informed by behavior change theory, evidence-based HIV prevention programs for youth, ethnographic work in the targeted rural community, Kenyan national symbols/customs and values, focus groups with rural youth, and interpersonal communication theory/practice.
The interactive CHAT Training Program includes standard HIV transmission/prevention education, as well as specific training on interpersonal communication. Trained youth receive buttons, t-shirts, red bracelets and/or hats that identify them as HIV peer educators, and that serve as catalysts for discussions with other youth. CHAT has been delivered to youth in Kibera, Kangemi, Bangladesh, Korogocho, various parts of Limuru, and Kisumu.