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Revista de Saúde Pública

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PERES, Camila Alves et al. AIDS prevention among incarcerated teenagers, Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2002, vol.36, n.4, suppl., pp. 76-81. ISSN 0034-8910.

OBJECTIVES: To describe social and family support, drug use, and knowledge, practices and attitudes related to AIDS and its prevention among male teenagers. METHODS: Participants were 275 male teenagers interned in a youth detention center (FEBEM - State Foundation for Juvenile Well-Being) in São Paulo, Brazil. There were two segments. In segment 1, semi-structured interviews with 20 detainees took place. In segment 2, close-end self-administered questionnaires covering sociodemographic data, criminal records, sexual practices, drug use, attitudes, knowledge and AIDS-related practices were applied. RESULTS: Ninety percent of the detainees lived previously with their families. All of them had attended public schools, although 61% had already dropped out. Twelve percent had never used drugs, and 5.5% were intravenous drug users. Most (98%) were sexually active; 35% had had more than 15 sexual partners, 8% had homosexual experiences (inside or outside the center), 12% had exchanged sex for material return and 22% were fathers. Many said that getting HIV infected "that's life " and that they face greater risks in their lives, such as surviving on the streets. They think condoms are easily broken (83%) and interfere with sex (58%); 72% had used condoms but only 9% used them with all their partners. CONCLUSIONS: These teenagers have a very high risk of HIV infection. It is necessary to integrate AIDS prevention programs to their life ills and related problems such as racism, expectations for the future, criminality, drug use, basic rights including sexual and reproductive rights, and show them there are alternatives other than exposing themselves to HIV infection or dying as criminals.

Keywords : Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome [prevention & control]; Adolescence; Knowledge, attitudes, practice; Prisoners; Socioeconomic factors; Sex behavior; Substance-related disorders; Risk; HIV.

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