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Revista de Saúde Pública

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SILVA, Wilson Aparecido et al. Prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS among junior professional players. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2002, vol.36, n.4, suppl., pp. 68-75. ISSN 0034-8910.

INTRODUCTION/OBJECTIVE: Aids cases are steadily increasing among young people and there are few studies describing young male vulnerability to HIV. A study was carried out aiming at developing a STD/AIDS prevention program for junior professional soccer players. METHODS: Study participants were twenty-five junior soccer players of a major league professional team of the city of Campinas, Brazil. There were 2 segments. In segment 1, participants were given a self-administered questionnaire covering sociodemographic data, sexual behavior, specific gender-related behaviors, condom use, HIV/AIDS knowledge and prevention, and sports associated exposure risk. In segment 2, 17 sessions of group dynamics were carried out. Many forms of expression (speech, writing, pictures, and videos) were encouraged to grasp participants' thoughts on STD/AIDS-related matters. RESULTS: Participants showed good knowledge on HIV transmission but they were poorly informed on reproduction and STDs. Unwanted pregnancy is their main concern. As for condom use, 73% consistently used condoms with casual partners (73%), and only 27% consistently used them with regular partners. Also, 58% considered risky to have HIV-positive players among them. CONCLUSIONS: Young players do not consider themselves vulnerable despite their chances of HIV infection and unwanted pregnancy. They have poor knowledge about the human body and reproductive health. Soccer milieu as well as other sports milieus create great opportunities for prevention programs, where they may have a multiplier effect since athletes are often regarded as role models for children and youngsters.

Keywords : Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome [prevention & control]; HIV; Sexually transmitted diseases [prevention & control]; Knowledge, attitudes, practice; Soccer; Vulnerability; Reproductive medicine.

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