Contextual Mediators influencing the Effectiveness of Behavioural Change Interventions: A Case of HIV/AIDS Prevention Behaviours

Angella Musiimenta



Background: Although Uganda had recorded decline in HIV infection rates around 1990’s, it is argued that HIV/AIDS risk sexual behaviour especially among the youth started increasing again from early 2000. School-based computer-assisted HIV interventions can provide interactive ways of improving the youth’s HIV knowledge, attitudes and skills. However, these interventions have long been reported to have limited success in improving the youth’s sexual behaviours, which is always the major aim of implementing such interventions. This could be because, the commonly used health promotion theories employed by these interventions have limited application in HIV prevention. These theories tend to lack sufficient attention to contextual mediators that influence ones sexual behaviours. Moreover, literature increasingly expresses dissatisfaction with the dominant prevailing descriptive survey-type HIV/AIDS-related research.

Objective and Methods: The objective of this research was to identify contextual mediators that influence the youth’s decision to adopt and maintain the HIV/AIDS preventive behaviour advocated by a computer-assisted intervention. To achieve this objective, this research employed qualitative method, which provided in-depth understanding of how different contexts interact to influence the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS interventions. The research question was: What contextual mediators are influencing the youth’s decision to adopt and maintain the HIV/AIDS preventive behaviour advocated by a computer-assisted intervention? To answer this research question, 20 youth who had previously completed the WSWM intervention when they were still secondary schools were telephone interviewed between Sept.08 and Dec.08. The collected data was then analysed, based on grounded theory’s coding scheme.

Results: Findings demonstrate that although often ignored by HIV interventionists and researchers, variety of contextual mediators influence individual uptake of HIV preventives. These include relationship characteristics, familial mediators, peer influence, gender-baised social norms, economic factors and religious beliefs.

Conclusion: To generate concomitant mutual efforts, rather than exclusively focusing on individual level mediators, there is an urgent need to shift to integrative approaches, which combine individual level change strategies with contextual level change approaches in the design and implementation of interventional strategies to fight against HIV/AIDS.

Key words: HIV/AIDS interventions, ICT, behavioural change, contextual factors, health promotion, youth.

Full Text:



Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *