HIV, AIDS and sexually transmitted infections - care, support and prevention - AIDS action  

HIV, AIDS and sexually transmitted infections - care, support and prevention - AIDS action

  HIV / AIDS and sexually transmitted infections
  care, support and prevention

 

• Home • Site Map • About Us •



Connect

Follow MotherChild on Twitter  Connect with MotherChild on Facebook  Subscribe to HealthPhone on YouTube


AIDS action
Caring with confidence
HIV and safe motherhood
HIV testing
Making Sex Work Safe
Men's sexual health matters
Steps to making sex safer
HIV/AIDS Resource Pack
 


 HIV, AIDS and sexually transmitted infections - care, support and prevention - AIDS action
 

Practical information for health
workers, educators and community
carers on HIV, AIDS and sexually
transmitted infections covering care,
support and prevention.

Source International Information Support Centre
International Information
Support Centre



HealthPhone: Health, Medical Training Videos



 

 
Starting the discussion: steps to making sex safer
  >  Part 2: Communicating for change 
This section as pdf  1.43 mbThis section in pdf format


Part 2: Communicating for change

Starting the Discussion: Steps to Making Sex Safer

Acknowledgements
Understanding people's behaviour
Communicating for change
Working with groups
Assessing change
Teaching tools
Check your facts
Resource list

 

bullet

Working towards better communication

bullet

Your role in information sharing

bullet

Tips for trainers

 

 

 

Starting the discussion: steps to making sex safer    12  Page 13  14  top of page

  Part 2: Communicating for change

Working towards better communication

Education through good communication should aim to help people to:
 

bullet

increase their knowledge 

bullet

assess their personal risk, and feel that it is important to make changes in their own lives

bullet

think about their attitudes about, for example, sex and condom use, sex workers or people with HIV

bullet

develop skills to put knowledge into practice and feel able to change what they do

bullet

find realistic ways to solve wider social and economic problems which contribute to HIV spread.


The best education uses methods of communication that encourage people to listen and respond to each other. Communication is a two-way process and means sharing information, ideas, feelings and knowledge.

Good communication means that people are actively involved in learning activities. This helps them to experience a new way of doing or thinking about things, and is often called participatory learning.

However, many teaching and training activities focus on simply giving information to people through posters or lectures. Achieving better communication may mean moving from an information-giving approach to an information-sharing approach. The differences in these approaches are shown in the table on the next page.



    

 

 

Starting the discussion: steps to making sex safer    13  Page 14  15  top of page

  Part 2: Communicating for change

 

Information-Giving approach                         

Information-Sharing approach 

Formal Teaching

Participatory learning

Top-down - talking at people

Encourages dialogue

Telling people what not to do

Makes an idea attractive

Professional knows best

Partnership

Depends on lectures

Uses many methods which create participation

Teacher makes decisions

Learners participate in deciding what is needed

Depends on posters

Uses many forms of visual media

Limits time for teaching

Makes more time if necessary

 

Good communication is not always easy. Why is this? 

Good communication depends on a continuous exchange of ideas, feelings or information between two or more people. But many different things can block or prevent good communication. For example:
 

bullet

people may have other urgent concerns and priorities

bullet

the information is presented in a boring or complicated manner

bullet

the trainer may be unfriendly or irritable, talk too much or patronise the group

bullet

the environment may be too hot, too crowded, or people may have walked a long way to the meeting and feel too tired to listen

bullet

teaching techniques often fail to take into account people's own experience and understanding of sex, sexuality and illness, which influence their attitudes to life, death and risk taking.


Often trainers find it difficult to try new approaches. They find it easier to do most of the talking because they feel they do not have the skills and confidence to try other methods.

Many trainers are not used to discussing issues related to sexual behaviour. They find it hard to create a relaxed atmosphere for open discussion. Educational and lifestyle differences between trainers and learners can also lead to problems in communication.



    

 

 

Starting the discussion: steps to making sex safer    14  Page 15  16  top of page

  Part 2: Communicating for change

Your role in information sharing

1 Critically examine the gaps in your own knowledge

Ask yourself if you feel confident about the answers to these questions:
 

bullet

What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

bullet

What are the most common ways in which HIV and other sexually transmitted infections are spread?

bullet

Do you have information about reproductive health and sexual development?

bullet

What issues are linked with HIV (e. g. untreated sexually transmitted infections, unemployment, poverty, the need to migrate, the position of women)?

bullet

What factors may prevent a change in attitudes and behaviour (e. g. people think that HIV will not affect them)?
 

Your role in information sharing



    

 

 

Starting the discussion: steps to making sex safer    15  Page 16  17  top of page

  Part 2: Communicating for change

 

2 Think about your own attitudes 
 
It is helpful to explore your personal feelings about HIV/AIDS and sexuality before you start discussing the issues as a trainer. Think about your: 
 

bullet

fears about HIV infection and AIDS

bullet

feelings about people who have tested HIV positive

bullet

beliefs about illness and death

bullet

thoughts about having more than one partner

bullet

attitudes to sex, marriage and having children

bullet

beliefs about what men and women should and should not do

bullet

attitudes to sex outside marriage

bullet

attitudes about having sex at an early age

bullet

feelings about sex workers and homosexuality.


Think about how your feelings affect your work with other people.


3 Explore what people think without judging them
 
Avoid presenting your own opinions about an issue before you have listened to and understood how people in the community view the problem. Make it clear that you do not have all the answers all the time.

Question beliefs which you know to be harmful and untrue. Be prepared to challenge negative attitudes about women and to speak out in support of people with HIV and their families who are struggling against stigma in the community. Be assertive, but never aggressive!

Use real experiences to raise issues which people may find difficult to discuss. For example, if you yourself have HIV, and are open about it, you may decide to share this information in order to encourage open discussion. There may also be others in the community who are willing to share experiences and talk openly about HIV and what it means in their lives.



    

 

 

Starting the discussion: steps to making sex safer    16  Page 17  18  top of page

  Part 2: Communicating for change

 

4  Use appropriate language
 
Trainers need to use words and phrases which are culturally acceptable and easily understood, and which they feel comfortable using.

However, talking about sex in public is difficult, and the trainer needs to feel able to use words which are not commonly said in public. It is important to be open, but not to offend.

This means thinking about:
 

bullet

using appropriate words for male and female parts of the body

bullet

avoiding medical words which are not widely used or understood

bullet

your ability to talk freely about sex

bullet

using words which do not offend or patronise people who have HIV/AIDS or their families

bullet

words or phrases which blame certain people in the community, e. g. prostitutes cause AIDS.


 

Words to avoid         
 

Words to use instead
 

AIDS victim/sufferer

Person with AIDS

Prostitute

Sex worker

AIDS carrier

Person with HIV
HIV positive person
Person living with HIV



5 Work in partnership with people 
 
Health and community workers, teachers and religious leaders involved in HIV prevention are not in conflict or competition with others who carry out health education in the community. Sharing resources, ideas and information with others is very valuable.
 

Work in partnership with people



    

 

 

Starting the discussion: steps to making sex safer    17  Page 18  19  top of page

  Part 2: Communicating for change

Tips for trainers

Working in small groups allows people to explore issues and learn from each other.

Groups need a facilitator - this is the person who explains group activities, guides the discussion and provides information where necessary. Being able to lead group discussions and use different activities to involve participants is a very useful skill.


1  Planning and preparation
 
Plan the training session to suit people's needs, and think about how to create an atmosphere which enables people to take part as much as possible. Be flexible, and: 
 

bullet

try to see the problem from different people's points of view

bullet

plan the structure of the talk and how to break it up with questions or activities

bullet

begin with what people know and build on this

bullet

avoid telling people what not to do

bullet

leave time for a summary and questions

bullet

give people ideas on which they are able to act.


Think about the following. 
 

bullet

Where - try to hold the session in 'neutral' territory, never in the boss' office. Seat people in a circle so they can all see each other.

bullet

What - make sure teaching tools and resources such as a chalkboard and flipcharts are available

bullet

Who - work with about 12 to 15 people. If there are too many people some will not participate. A useful discussion is unlikely to take place if there are too few.

bullet

How - break up into pairs or smaller groups of 4 or 5 for some discussions and activities. Men and women may find it easier to discuss some issues in single sex groups, to help them be more open.

bullet

When - plan your session to last at least half a day and include activities, games and follow-up discussion. Schedule a short break at least every hour.



    

 

 

Starting the discussion: steps to making sex safer    18  Page 19  20  top of page

  Part 2: Communicating for change

 


2  Starting the session
 
At the beginning: 
 

bullet

check the timetable, breaks and finishing time

bullet

make sure that everyone is comfortable, and ideally sitting in a circle

bullet

if necessary, ask the group to choose a person to record any decisions made.

 
Warm-up activity
Even if people know each other, it is useful to do a warm-up activity to help them relax. For example, invite people to get into pairs and ask each other their name, what they do, and what they most like and hate in life. Adapt the questions depending on the group. Then ask each person to introduce their partner.

Setting guidelines
The facilitator should ask people to briefly discuss and agree a few guidelines that will help them work together. Issues may include:
 

bullet

allowing everyone to express their views

bullet

listening to what people say

bullet

dealing with any disruption

bullet

keeping confidentiality

bullet

encouraging people to speak without pressuring them.



    

 

 

Starting the discussion: steps to making sex safer    19  Page 20  21  top of page

  Part 2: Communicating for change

 

Expectations
Ask each person to say what they feel are the aims of the session and what they hope to gain from it. Write these on a large sheet of paper. When everyone has contributed, ask them to decide which are the three main aims. These agreed discussion aims can be referred to during the assessment session at the end.

3  During Discussions
 
Be in touch with your audience. Try to understand their personal way of life, their strengths, and their beliefs and customs. Recognise their skills, their wisdom and their willingness.

Remember these important rules: 
 

bullet

smile and make eye contact with everyone

bullet

use the KISS rule (Keep It Short and Simple)

bullet

avoid complicated language

bullet

talk honestly about sexual behaviour, options and alternatives - if people are reluctant to talk about sex, start with other lifestyle changes, such as drinking or smoking less

bullet

repeat the information without being boring; ask people to summarise what you have said

bullet

check that people are understanding what you are saying.


Try not to be a teacher:
 

bullet

don't do all the talking

bullet

provide information, advice and support when needed

bullet

listen carefully at all times

bullet

guide group members through the discussion

bullet

assist the group to keep to time and to the aims.



Ways to make sessions more interesting 
 

bullet

Encourage participation through group activities, stories and role plays (see Part 3).

bullet

Break into smaller groups or pairs to discuss issues, and ask people to summarise their discussions with the main group.

bullet

Use visual aids and make sure they can be seen

bullet

Invite questions and encourage discussion

bullet

After discussions, involve people in making a list of key points.


Ask open and respectful questions, rather than ones which point to a particular answer. For example, ask: 'What do you think about sex outside marriage?' rather than 'Do you think sex outside marriage is bad?' 



    

 

 

Starting the discussion: steps to making sex safer    20  Page 21  22  top of page

  Part 2: Communicating for change

 

Watch the body language of the group members
How do people look? Confused, angry, bored, frustrated, happy, interested, attentive? Are people sitting quietly, pushing back their chairs, excusing themselves frequently, or chatting to each other?

Being aware of these things can help the group leader to judge the mood and the pace of the discussion and to take action as necessary.

Deal with difficulties - sometimes members in a group may behave in a way that prevents others from taking part such as talking too much, becoming irritated or demanding attention. Silences can also be threatening to a group. 
 


Watch the body language of the group members



    

 

 

Starting the discussion: steps to making sex safer    21  Page 22  23  top of page

  Part 2: Communicating for change

 

It can help to ask questions which lead to further debate, such as: 
 

bullet

'In your view, why do you think this makes such an important difference?'

bullet

'What do other people think about this important issue?'

bullet

'Thank you for your important contribution - now let us hear from the other members.


Changing to a different activity can help. For example: 
 

bullet

invite the recorder to summarise the discussion

bullet

refer to a list of key questions which still need to be answered

bullet

use role play to demonstrate a point

bullet

ask for an opinion from a quiet member.



4 Finishing the session
 

bullet

Always make time for people to give feedback.

bullet

Go round the group, and ask each person if they feel the aims of the session had been achieved (written up at the beginning), and which parts they found most and least useful.

bullet

Spend time discussing people's future plans, especially if they are themselves educators or trainers.

bullet

Ask if people would like a follow-up session (if this is possible), and what they would like it to cover.



    

 

 

 
top of page

• Home • Site Map • About Us • AIDS action • Caring with confidence • HIV and safe motherhood • HIV testing • Making Sex Work Safe • Men's sexual health matters • Steps to making sex safer • HIV/AIDS Resource Pack
 

The Mother and Child Health and Education Trust
a U.S. 501(c)(3) non profit organization
our portals and sites