Indicator 2.4: "Adult support of education on condom use for prevention of HIV/AIDS among young people"
Percentage of adults (18+ y.o.) who are in favor of young people being educated about using a condom to prevent HIV/AIDS.
A nationally representative general population survey.
What It Measures
Adult perceptions of HIV prevention programmes for young people are crucial to programme success because of the key role that adults play in shaping the attitudes and perceptions of adolescents. If parents and adults in the community disapprove of a programme, their lack of support often influences the attitudes and behaviour of young people. The importance of adult perceptions and support was demonstrated in a recent study in Zambia, which found that trends in the use of reproductive health services by adolescents were strongly associated with adult acceptance of the provision of such services to young people rather than with the attributes of the services themselves (37).
How to Measure It
This indicator is based on existing questions addressed in the DHS. It assesses the general level of support among adults for information and skills programmes that focus on adolescents. In a household survey, adults are asked whether young people should be taught about the use of condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS. Ostensibly, the parents of adolescents are the most important group, and, depending on the survey, disaggregation may be possible so as to provide data specifically for them. However, the opinions of adults as a whole are influential on the programmes and services provided for young people and, consequently, a knowledge of the general attitudes of adults is useful. If even more detailed information is desired on the support, or lack of it, attributable to the type of influential adult, the same information can be measured from interviews with selected key informants. Such interviews can yield a deeper understanding of the level of adult support for, or resistance to, HIV prevention programmes for young people, and can reveal differences in support for programmes between older and younger adolescents.
Strengths and Limitations
For the success of any programme focused on adolescents it is crucial to assess adult support for it. Many interventions that ultimately benefit young people are targeted not at young people but at adults whose values strongly influence adolescents. For example, the support of parents or teachers for HIV prevention programmes in schools may positively influence the acceptance of and interest in the programmes among young people. Furthermore, the support of an important local political, religious or other leader can positively influence the perceptions of adults. If used in a general population survey this indicator does not distinguish between different types of influential adults such as parents, teachers and health workers. Instead it assesses the general level of support among adults for information and skills programmes that focus on adolescents. If collected over time it can provide important data on trends in opinion or support among adults with respect to programmes for young people, especially if qualitative follow-up occurs.