The Influence of Peer Based HIV/AIDS Education on Students Sexual Behaviour: A Case of Mzumbe University, Tanzania
Peer education typically involves training and supporting members of a given group to effect change among the members of the same group. Peer education is often used to effect changes in knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours at the individual level. However, peer education may also create change at the group or societal level by modifying norms and stimulating collective action in policies and programme. Peer education is a tool or strategy to minimize or prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS which is the most dangerous scourge as the most affected group of people are youths capable of driving the wheel of economic development, so it is important to have deliberate strategies in order to fight against this scourge. One of these strategies is peer education, peer education for HIV prevention has been widely implemented in many universities in developing countries, yet the effectiveness of this intervention has not been systematically evaluated. This study was conducted at Mzumbe University (MU) located in Morogoro region to asses peer based education and its influence on students' sexual behaviour. The study adopted a case study research design and used a combination of simple random sampling and systematic sampling techniques to select 200 students as respondents. Data analysis was done using descriptive statistics. Also, inferential analysis was done using an F test to compare points scored on a scale of sexual behaviour by some independent variables. It was found that many students engaged in risky sexual behaviour had multiple sexual partners and were inconsistent in using condoms. This happened despite their having high knowledge on HIV and peer based education, and being positive towards peer educators. These positive attributes have not transformed the students to abandon their risky sexual behaviour. It was recommended that a follow-up study is needed to find out as to the reasons behind this behaviour that students did not change their risky sexual behaviour despite the instrumental role undertaken by peer educators.