Effects of Peer Education on the Knowledge and use of HIV Counselling and Testing services among Young Persons in Ibadan, Nigeria
Although HIV counselling and testing (HCT) service plays important roles in prevention and control of AIDS, many young Nigerians under-utilize it. A peer education intervention was implemented to promote use of HCT among secondary school students and apprentices in Ibadan, Nigeria. Baseline data were collected from 1281 students from six schools and 100 apprentice workshops in four Local Government Areas of Ibadan. A total of 897 students from four schools and apprentices from 25 workshops were assigned as experimental group while 682 students from two schools and apprentices from 25 workshops were the controls. Three intervention activities were implemented: a one-day sensitization workshop for 31 apprentice instructors and 20 secondary school teacher-supervisors, training of 75 students and 46 apprentices as Peer Educators (PE), and development of Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) materials including posters and handbills. Six months after implementing these interventions, a follow-up survey was conducted to assess the effects of the PE on young person’s knowledge of HIV and HCT and reported use of HCT services. Follow-up data were collected from 760 respondents from the experimental sites and 298 from the control areas using the same questionnaire administered during the baseline survey. PE educated a total of 1,917 persons with information on HIV/HCT-related issues. In addition, at follow-up, records of use of HCT services were obtained from two HCT centres situated in the experimental sites and one from the control. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and t-tests. The results showed significant increase in knowledge of HCT among experimental (1.3 to 7.5) (p<0.05) and control groups (0.6 to 6.8) (p<0.05) at follow-up. At baseline, 29.0% of the experimental and 36.0% of control knew of the location of a HCT centre; at follow-up the percentage of experimental groups who could do so increased to 62.0%, while the number dropped to 34.0% among controls. Records at HCT centres showed that a greater number (309) of experimental groups used HCT services than control (43). PE were successful in influencing behaviour of their peers to use HCT services.