ABSTRACT: To analyze the impact of a participatory sexual health promotion program implemented in a poor community and describe how the use of public and private spaces for sex is a factor that exacerbates vulnerability to HIV/Aids.
This ethnographic study was conducted in a Rio de Janeiro shantytown in 2002. Six thousand people live in precarious living conditions in which the lack of public policies, health posts, recreational activities, employment opportunities, and security consolidates power in criminal groups. Issues related to sexual health were addressed in addition to a participatory sexual health program implemented by a Community HIV Prevention Center established by a non-governmental organization. After two months of participatory observation, 35 semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with community members between the ages of 17 and 65. Eleven life histories of community leaders and HIV prevention promoters and seven focus groups formed from pre-existent community groups were analyzed. The material was categorized and analyzed qualitatively.
The precarious nature of living conditions contributes to increased exposure to sexual practices while also enhancing the stigma experienced by the community for living in a shantytown. Through the implementation of the program by the Community HIV Prevention Center, children, teenagers and adults have become familiar with and knowledgeable of HIV/AIDS prevention; and teenagers and adults gained access to condoms.
Although vulnerability to HIV was not affected, research results reveal that HIV prevention can become part of the local culture. HIV/AIDS prevention can be fomented by a local approach based on community participation and strengthening collective organizing.
Revista de Saúde Pública 01/2008; 41 Suppl 2:127-34. · 1.33 Impact Factor