Changing the Course of AIDS is an in-depth evaluation
of a new and exciting way to create the kind of much-needed
behavioral change that could affect the course of the global health
crisis of HIV/AIDS. This case study from the South African HIV/AIDS
epidemic demonstrates that regular workers serving as peer
educators can be as-or even more-effective agents of behavioral
change than experts who lecture about the facts and so-called
appropriate health care behavior.
After spending six years researching the response of large South
African companies to the epidemic that is decimating their
workforce as well as South African communities, David Dickinson
describes the promise of this grassroots intervention-workers
educating one another in the workplace and community-and the
limitations of traditional top-down strategies. Dickinson's book
takes us right into the South African workplace to show how
effective and yet enormously complex peer education really is. We
see what it means when workers directly tackle the kinds of sexual,
gender, religious, ethnic, and broader social and political taboos
that make behavior change so difficult, particularly when that
behavior involves sex and sexuality.
Dickinson's findings show that people who are not officially
health care experts or even health care workers can be skilled and
effective educators. In this book we see why peer education has so
much to offer societies grappling with the HIV/AIDS epidemic and
why those interested in changing behaviors to ameliorate other
health problems like obesity, alcoholism, and substance abuse have
so much to learn from the South African example.
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