As a nominee for the Elsevier Atlas Award in September 2018, the judges remarked that the article had '"two majors assets: the recognition that street children are definitely an issue and in particular a research issue regarding attitude towards HIV/AIDS. The second aspect is related to the method used. There are not that many opportunities to conduct a trial of that nature about this issue. This was well conducted and the fact this took place in Iran should be noticed."
Foreign-origin street children are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS mainly due to poverty, violence, early sexual activity and poor access to health care services. This study aimed to highlight the effectiveness of peer education intervention to reduce HIV-risky behavior among street children with Afghan nationality.
Sixty-one street children were stratified by sex and then randomly allocated to either an intervention or control group by assigning each participant computerized random numbers. The intervention provided peer education services, focused on mode of disease transmission, prevention approaches and awareness of HIV/AIDS services by peers.
At least 80% of participants in the intervention and control groups completed the study period, respectively. At the end of the study, statistically significant increase of knowledge and attitude improvement as well as a decreased tendency to do risky sexual intercourse among the intervention subjects was shown. Moreover, there was a time intervention interaction for knowledge and attitude improvements followed by intervention (interaction p value = 0.001), while it was not significant for risky sexual behavior (interaction p value = 0.44).
Peer education was an effective and easy-to-apply educational method that increased knowledge and improved attitudes about HIV/AIDS among foreign-origin street children, while it was less efficient with regard to long-term reduction in risky sexual behavior.