Promoting Sexual Health Education via Gaming: Evidence from the Barrios of Lima, Peru

Promoting Sexual Health Education via Gaming: Evidence from the Barrios of Lima, Peru

Arul Chib (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-495-0.ch041

Abstract

The spread of contagious STDs, HIV/AIDS, and unintended pregnancies amongst marginalized youth in developing nations is a source of concern. This study examines the use of an educational interactive game to educate Peruvian youth about sexual and reproductive health. 102 teenagers living in the barrios of Lima played an interactive educational multimedia game. The research design consisted of pre- and post-intervention surveys. The study utilized social cognitive theory to determine the influence of prior knowledge, self-efficacy and game-playing on respondents attitudes. In this particular case, prior attitudes, knowledge, resistance to peer-pressure and game-playing were significant predictors of attitudes towards sexual health. Implications and strategies for teachers utilizing interactive games for promotion of sexual education are discussed.
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Introduction

Despite the decline in the number of annual deaths caused by it, AIDS continues to ravage the planet, with two million people succumbing to the disease annually, and an estimated 33 million people living with HIV (UNAIDS, 2008a). The disease adds an estimated 2.7 million new cases each year. Certain populations, such as women, adolescents, and children are particularly vulnerable (Kusunoki et al., 2005), possibly due to biological and social factors. A particular cause for concern is the fact that almost half (45%) of new HIV infections occur amongst young people aged 15-24, an estimated 12.5 million of whom have AIDS (UNAIDS, 2008a). This is particularly worrying, since knowledge levels regarding HIV prevention amongst the majority of youth are ‘well below the Declaration of Commitment’s goal of ensuring comprehensive HIV knowledge in 95% of young people by 2010’ (UNAIDS, 2008a, p. 98). Risk reduction may occur by increasing young people’s understanding of sexual and reproductive health, particularly risks associated with HIV and measures to prevent exposure.

This chapter investigates the impact of an interactive multimedia game intended to educate Peruvian youth about sexual and reproductive issues. This study investigated the unique vulnerabilities of adolescents in contracting the disease, the literature on digital education games, and is situated within the context of social cognitive theory (Bandura, 2004). Finally, the findings are presented and implications for teachers and instructors are suggested.

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