To reduce their risk of acquiring STIs or HIV, people must understand their risk and have the knowledge, skills and belief in their self-efficacy to reduce that risk. Behavioral interventions provide information, motivation, education and skills-building to help individuals reduce risky behaviors and sustain this positive change.
|Consolidated guidelines on HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for key populations – 2016 update||
Behavioral change interventions can be delivered as part of the other interventions in the comprehensive package. They may take place face-to-face or through broadcast mass media and digital media such as the Internet. Choices of content and approach, as well as of the medium, should be based on good formative analysis of the local situation.
Although the logic of behavioral interventions is primarily based on individual awareness and decision-making about risk, such interventions also can operate at a group or at the community levels. For example, interventions may involve training opinion leaders to communicate with their peers, thus changing perceptions of social norms about risk and risk avoidance.
Adolescents deserve specific consideration as at this stage the urge to explore and experiment normally develops ahead of decision-making ability. Adolescents’ evolving cognitive abilities are an important consideration in the design of behavioral interventions for them.
A range of behavioral interventions can provide information and skills that support risk reduction, prevent HIV transmission and increase uptake of services among all key populations. There is insufficient evidence to make general recommendations for all key populations. However, specific behavioral approaches for particular key population groups have been assessed and can be recommended.
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