2002 UKR: Evaluation of Project "HIV Prevention Among Youth of the Southern Region of Ukraine" (Three Cities) Plus KAP Results
Today, different organisations and institutions offer quite a large number of prevention programmes designed in traditional forms and methods of work. Yet, they do not always work in the youth environment. Southern regions are traditionally different from the rest of Ukraine because they have a higher level of drug addiction and HIV-infection among youth. The Joint SSSYC and UNICEF Project, HIV-infection Prevention Among Teenagers and Youth of the Southern Region of Ukraine, utilizes various forms and methods of working in HIV-infection prevention - preventive talks, lectures, practical exercises, training courses, counselling, etc.
Purpose / Objective
- To evaluate the results reached by the project against its objective: to build the capacities of social services for youth in the field of HIV primary prevention
- To analyse and describe the monitoring and evaluation system developed and established for the purposes of the project for its further scaling up
The final evaluation was done from September 16-23, 2002 in three cities of Ukraine: Sevastopol, Mykolajiv and Odesa. Anonymous, structured, one-on-one interviews were conducted by 52 interviewers from the State Institute of Family and Youth Affairs, who are consistently working in this area. 1,774 respondents, 14-28 years old, were interviewed. A certain part of the questions coincided with the questions that were asked during the initial evaluation. At the same time, the questionnaire included new questions about youth's knowledge, attitude and practice.
Key Findings and Conclusions
Based on survey results, young people in three southern cities demonstrated quite a high level of awareness of the existence of HIV and such disease as AIDS. Compared to 2001, the level of awareness increased 3% on average. There are practically no changes with regard to the gender of the respondent.
Interviewed young people turned out to be quite informed about possible ways of HIV transmission. The main ways of transmission of the HIV-infection were named correctly by the majority of the respondents. The level of knowledge of youth in all designated cities about some ways of HIV-transmission was higher compared to 2001. Gender and age did not substantially influence the distribution of responses. A significant improvement was noted in having correct knowledge on some existing stereotypical statements.
Respondents' answers to the question whether sexual intercourse with a condom is safe (in terms of HIV-infection) turned out to be very interesting. In 2002, the number of respondents who are sure that infection is not possible increased 27%. Nevertheless, 40% (up from a previous 32%) of the respondents in the southern region do not trust such a safeguard as condom. This fact cannot be explained by the lack of information of youth, when most condoms in the Ukrainian market are not tested for protection from HIV/AIDS and do not guarantee protection from infection.
The proportion of those who always use condoms increased (from 49% to 68%), with a significant increase in the proportion of women users in Mykolajiv (from 18 to 52%). In Odesa, the proportion of women who never use condoms increased to 7% from none. After receiving certain information about HIV/AIDS, men, significantly more often than women, started using condoms in order to avoid infection (28% and 22% in Odesa, 24% and 10% in Mykolajiv and 30% and 10% in Sevastopol, respectively).
The comparison of 2001 and 2002 survey data clearly shows that a majority abstain from drugs across the different age categories. In Mykolajiv and Odesa cities, the percentage of young people who have never used drugs is increasing and the proportion of those who have tried drugs is decreasing (except for young people from Odesa 19-20 years old).
Among all the respondents, the number of sexual partners remained the same. We should note that, compared to previous research done, there are signs of certain changes in sexual behaviour. In Mykolajiv and Odesa, the proportion of women who have had sex with 2-3 partners dropped from 5% to 1%; the same is true for young men in Sevastopol -- from 19% to 15%; however, in Odesa, this indicator increased from 10% to 15% for men.
Some differences in the sources of information about HIV/AIDS were observed. First of all, we need to note the substantial growth in the significance of all sources of information. Television, friends, and relatives as responses for sources of information all increased - irrespective of the place of residence of the respondents.
In the opinion of most respondents (24 out of 30 respondents), informational booklets, leaflets, and posters were very useful, though the quality did not always correspond to the needs and requirements.
One of the accomplishments of the project is the fact that it became a stage for forming the basis and experience of the work of the Social Services for Youth Centres in the area of HIV/AIDS in youth environment, expanding the range of services and improving methods of work with youth and its environment. In project implementation, the main thing was to overcome suspicion, resistance and bureaucracy of those representatives of local authorities, as well as change the attitude of project partner organisations to the new ways and methods of prevention. That is the reason why the main goal of the preparation stage of the project was to establish working relationships with the representatives of the city and state administration.
Representatives of the local authorities who were interviewed during monitoring in the cities specified underlined their readiness to implement measures with the SSYC, as part of joint prevention programmes. However, this process did not go smoothly in all cities. For example, implementing agencies in Odesa complained about a bureaucratic attitude to the project from individual representatives of local authorities whose decisions influenced whether they would receive a building to create the information centre or receive funds for prevention activities. In Mykolajiv and Sevastopol cities, performers talked about the existence of negative stereotypes about HIV-infection prevention and sex education of youth in some representatives of state organisations, for example, school principals, heads of universities, etc. Such outdated understanding of the problem put brakes on the introduction of new forms of preventive work among youth: for example, lectures, training courses about safe sexual practices, employing peer education technique.
Project performers also underlined that public organisations and state institutions have different directions of preventive work in youth environment. There was duplication and a lack of co-ordination. This brings an element of "unhealthy competition."
Effectiveness of project implementation in all the specified cities can be evaluated as high. Despite numerous difficulties and obstacles, project implementing agencies were able to find ways to influence the target group, social environment and the general public.
The state Social Services for Youth Centre, with the support of UNICEF, should expand the HIV- Prevention among Youth of the Southern Region of Ukraine Project to other regions of Ukraine that are also vulnerable to HIV-infection.
- With the support of the State Committee of the Information Policies, Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine, organize and conduct of information campaigns in all mass media on the problem of drug addiction and HIV/AIDS.
- Creation and dissemination of social advertising information
- Co-operate with the state officials who are involved in decision making at the national and local levels; informing and training them
- Raise target funds of the State Budget and international funds
- Active involvement of non-governmental organisations in preventive work
- Active use of peer education strategies, including the vulnerable to HIV-infection groups, creating a network of counselling and informational stations
- Strengthen the work of primary drug use prevention among youth, especially younger age categories
- Create a system for involving specialists and volunteers
- Facilitate scientific support
- Evaluate the quality of information materials
- Hold a social advertising contest of the products, involving governmental and non-governmental organisations
- Train social workers, SSYC volunteers, and leaders from among parents, youth and teachers
- Continue systematic teaching and training of SSYC social workers and specialists of different fields who are working with youth
Full report in PDF
PDF files require Acrobat Reader.