A documentary analysis of HIV/AIDS education interventions in Ghana

Saamira Halabi, William Smith, John Collins, David Baker, Jason Bedford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: While the international donor community has spent millions on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) prevention through educational programmes, the quality of information in educational curricula is rarely analyzed. This study analyzes the content of prevention programmes, focusing on informational accuracy. Design: Curricula for this study were collected using a snowball sampling technique in which we first contacted bi-lateral donors, the country's national AIDS coordinating agency, and the Ministry of Education to find out which organizations and agencies were actively working in the country and implementing HIV curricular interventions. Our final data set included 24 curricula: seven school-based, 15 adult-based, and two multi-purpose curricula (manuals or modules used in conjunction with other curricula or independently). Using Senderowitz and Kirby's (2006)1 standards for curricula content as a guide, each curriculum was coded independently by two reviewers, who noted specific lines, sections, or images of the curriculum which were problematic. Setting: Ghana. Method: Documentary analysis of 24 curricula that are designed to teach youth and adults about HIV/AIDS. Results: We find one or more problems in each curriculum, including: (1) factual errors and omitted information; (2) oversimplified facts; (3) promotion of fear-based abstinence; (4) confusing condom information; (5) a presentation of infection as women's problem; and (6) misrepresentation of individual risk. Conclusion: Even with increased financial resources being directed at HIV prevention and treatment, the quality of information found in school-based and adult prevention curricula remains poor. This analysis calls into question the effect of these interventions in 'socially vaccinating' against new infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-500
Number of pages15
JournalHealth Education Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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