The Impact of Utilizing HIV-Positive Speakers in AIDS Education Academic Article uri icon


  • A longitudinal matched control study was conducted to evaluate the effects on young people (n = 1,280) of talks by HIV-positive speakers who disclose their personal perspective of living with HIV. Focus-group discussions with students (n = 117) were used to elucidate the impact. Meeting HIV-positive people decreased fear and prejudice, reinforced messages about protective behavior and increased the belief that HIV is preventable. Improved attitudes after talks by females remained significant over 3 months. Speakers changed perceptions, broke down stereotypes, and made students realize that anybody is vulnerable to infection. The speaker provided an anonymous, nonjudgmental person to whom young people could easily relate. They opened the doorway to discussions about AIDS. AIDS interventions must focus on recruiting, supporting and training young articulate HIV-positive people, particularly females, to deliver sex education to in- and out-of-school youths. HIV-positive speakers have an essential role to play in AIDS prevention and must be utilized appropriately.

publication date

  • August 2002