The effectiveness of a peer-led HIV/AIDS and STI Health Education Intervention for Prison Inmates in South Africa

S.R. Sifunda*, P.S. Reddy, R. Braithwaite, T. Stephens, S. Bhengu, R.A.C. Ruiter, H.W. van den Borne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article reports on the effectiveness of the first systematically developed health education intervention for the reduction of risky sexual behavior among soon-to-be-released prisoners in South Africa. Data from three out of four prisons are eligible for data analysis including 263 inmates. Using a nested experimental design, short-term evaluation while inmates were still in prison demonstrate that experimental groups showed higher knowledge of sexually transmitted infections and had a more positive intention to reduce risky behavior than the control group in two out of three prisons. Long-term assessment 3 to 6 months after release from prison indicates that experimental groups were more positive about sexual communication, self-efficacy, and intention. Groups educated by an HIV-negative educator perform marginally better than those in groups with an HIV-positive peer educator. It is argued that peer-led health education programs may be effective in reducing risky behavior amongst soon-to-be-released inmates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-508
JournalHealth Education & Behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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