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«ILO/USDOL HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme for Trinidad and Tobago ILO Subregional Office for the Caribbean Copyright © International Labour ...»

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A handbook for Peer Educators

Addressing HIV/AIDS in the workplace


Workplace Education Programme for Trinidad and Tobago

ILO Subregional Office for the Caribbean

Copyright © International Labour Organization 2008

First published 2008

Publications of the International Labour Office enjoy copyright under Protocol 2 of the Uni-

versal Copyright Convention. Nevertheless, short excerpts from them may be reproduced

without authorization, on condition that the source is indicated. For rights of reproduction or translation, application should be made to ILO Publications (Rights and Permissions), In- ternational Labour Office, CH-1211 Geneva 22, Switzerland, or by email: pubdroit@ilo.org.

The International Labour Office welcomes such applications.

Libraries, institutions and other users registered with reproduction rights organizations may make copies in accordance with the licences issued to them for this purpose. Visit www.ifrro.

org to find the reproduction rights organization in your country.

ILO Cataloguing in Publication Data A handbook for peer educators : addressing HIV/AIDS in the workplace / International Labour Office, ILO/USDOL HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme for Trinidad and Tobago, ILO Subregional Office for the Caribbean.

- Port of Spain: ILO, 2008 43 p.

ISBN: 978-92-2-1216964 978-92-2-1216971 (web pdf) International Labour Office; ILO Subregional Office for the Caribbean guide / HIV / AIDS / occupational health / health education / Trinidad and Tobago 15.04.2 The designations employed in ILO publications, which are in conformity with United Nations practice, and the presentation of material therein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the International Labour Office concerning the legal status of any country, area or territory or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers.

The responsibility for opinions expressed in signed articles, studies and other contributions rests solely with their authors, and publication does not constitute an endorsement by the International Labour Office of the opinions expressed in them.

Reference to names of firms and commercial products and processes does not imply their endorsement by the International Labour Office, and any failure to mention a particular firm, commercial product or process is not a sign of disapproval.

ILO publications and electronic products can be obtained through major booksellers or ILO local offices in many countries, or direct from ILO Publications, International Labour Office, CH-1211 Geneva 22, Switzerland. Catalogues or lists of new publications are available free of charge from the above address, or by email: pubvente@ilo.org Visit our website: www.ilo.org/publns Printed in Trinidad and Tobago Design by Simone Brown Photographs courtesy Beverly King


The International Labour Organization, as the United Nations specializedagency with responsibility for the world of work, recognizes that HIV and AIDS is a major threat to the workforce and to the Decent Work Agenda. In 2000, the ILO established ILO/ AIDS, its programme to address HIV/AIDS and the world of work.

The objective of the programme is to understand and respond to the effects of HIV/AIDS in the world of work and support action by governments, employers and workers to mitigate its effects. In 2001, the ILO developed the Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work as a guide for action to be taken at the workplace.

In an effort to assist in scaling up the response to HIV/AIDS in Trinidad and Tobago, the ILO Subregional Office for the Caribbean signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development, on behalf of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in 2006, to implement an HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme, with support from the United States Department of Labor. The programme was guided by the objectives of ILO/AIDS and the ILO Code of Practice on HIV/ AIDS. The Programme identified 12 companies from the banking and finance, energy, manufacturing and retail, ports and tourism sectors, as well as an organization from the informal economy the National Barbering Association of Trinidad and Tobago. One hundred and eighty persons from these companies, informal economy association as well as representatives of the employers’ and workers’ organizations have been trained as peer educators.

This handbook for peer educators was developed to support ongoing HIV/AIDS workplace education activities. It will be an indispensable tool for peer educators, HIV focal points and HIV committees.

It includes a compact disc with Powerpoint presentations to support training and is accompanied by other resources, including information on contacts for further support.

We wish to express our sincere appreciation to Carol-Ann Senah, Project Coordinator, HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme and Moira Denman, Graduate Student, University of the West Indies and Intern on the project, for spearheading the work to produce this

–  –  –

Behrouz Shahandeh Ana Teresa Romero, Ph.D.

Programme Manager Director, International HIV/AIDS Workplace ILO Subregional Office for the Education Programme, Caribbean, International Labour Organization Trinidad and Tobago Geneva November 2008

–  –  –

2. Tips for Peer Educators 8

• Planning Peer Education sessions

• Preparing for sessions

• Conducting Peer Education sessions

• Suggestions for Incorporating HIV and AIDS into on-going workplace activities

–  –  –

I.2 • Sexually Transmitted Infections 21 Activity 4: Musical partners Activity 5: Names and symptoms of STIs Activity 6: STI treatment for partners Activity 7: Treating STIs

–  –  –

I.5 • Voluntary Counselling and Testing 47 Activity 14: Exploring obstacles to Voluntary HIV Counselling and Testing (VCT) I.6 • Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission 51 Activity 15: Preventing mother-to-child transmission

–  –  –

The Annual Report of the National Surveillance Unit, Ministry of Health (2006) reveals that the HIV epidemic in Trinidad and Tobago is concentrated in the 15-49 age group in which occur 71% of new infections. The epidemic therefore has the potential to reduce the supply of labour and negatively affect productivity if workers do not have accurate information on HIV prevention and care. Most people infected with HIV are still healthy and can continue to work and live a productive life. They are infected with HIV but do not have AIDS and may only develop AIDS years after if the body’s immune system becomes severely weakened by HIV. However, antiretroviral treatment can keep people living with HIV healthy and can extend their lives.

Fear and a lack of understanding of how HIV is transmitted can lead to discrimination against workers living with HIV, threatening fundamental principles and rights at work and undermining efforts for prevention and care. The ILO/United States Department of Labor HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme for Trinidad and Tobago is being implemented to inform workers about HIV and AIDS and promote behaviour change that will reduce the spread of the virus, reduce discrimination and support workers who are living with or affected by HIV and AIDS. Peer Educators from enterprises and workers’ and employers’ organizations have been trained as part of this comprehensive workplace programme on HIV and AIDS.

This handbook is adapted from the “ILO/Family Health International HIV/AIDS behaviour change communication: A toolkit for the workplace” and is part of a package of HIV and AIDS education resources to be used by Peer Educators in their sensitization and education activities. It provides basic information on HIV and AIDS and suggests sources of further information. It also includes practical exercises to assist Peer Educators in engaging their colleagues in participatory sessions. It is recommended that this handbook be used by workers who have had training in HIV and AIDS education.


–  –  –

What is Peer Education?

Peer Education is based on the idea that individuals are most likely to change their behaviour if people they know and trust persuade them to do so. It helps to break down barriers by allowing people to discuss sensitive matters without fear.

In the context of the HIV/AIDS workplace programmes, it involves the training of male and female workers to facilitate discussions with their co-workers, with the goal of encouraging them to examine and change their high risk behaviour.

Why Peer Education at the workplace?

Peer Education is a cost-effective option for employers. Compared to the cost of lost productivity, absenteeism, retraining and payment of health benefits due to HIV and AIDS, establishing a peer education programme as a part of the HIV/AIDS Workplace programme can save money by helping to reduce new infections.

It capitalizes on workers who will encourage their fellow colleagues to consider changing their current high-risk behaviour. A peer education programme can be initiated rapidly and can reach a large number of workers.

The development of a peer education programme improves the morale of workers, who see their employers’ and workers’ representatives contributing to the protection of their rights, health and well-being.

–  –  –

What do Peer Educators do?

Peer Educators are trained to:

• Facilitate discussions on high-risk behaviour.

• Disseminate basic facts about HIV/AIDS and other SexuallyTransmitted Infections.

• Motivate co-workers to seek prompt and complete treatment from competent health care workers.

• Disseminate information about HIV/AIDS services at the workplace and surrounding community, make referrals to services such as those providing counselling and testing, antiretroviral therapy, prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission and other opportunistic infections.

• Assist workers infected and affected by HIV and put them in touch with support groups.


• Promote HIV prevention through abstinence, mutual fidelity or condom use.

• Train workers to use and negotiate the use of condoms with a sexual partner and promote condom use among groups with high-risk behaviour.

• Distribute condoms.

• Help peers to assess their own personal risk.

• Lead large group meetings.

• Disseminate information about the HIV/AIDS workplace policy (if applicable).

• Be advocates by influencing workers to support HIV/AIDS programmes.

Behaviour Change

The process of behaviour change:

Behaviour change is a process that involves several stages. Simply telling people to change their behaviour or providing them with information about the risk of HIV infection is not usually enough to get them to make changes. People have to make their own decision to change behaviour that put them at risk of becoming infected with HIV.

Before individuals and communities can reduce their level of risk or change behaviour they must first understand the basic facts about HIV and AIDS, assess and modify their attitudes, learn new skills, and know how to access appropriate services. They must also perceive their environment as supportive of behaviour change and the maintenance of safe behaviour. A workplace education programme contributes to creating such an environment.

The following is a practical model that combines stages of change, focusing on individual behaviour change, with enabling factors that support behaviour change.

–  –  –

Planning Peer Education sessions Workplaces with HIV/AIDS programmes should have regular meetings to discuss the activities that would take place at the workplace. Peer Educators are expected to plan events such as information sessions on various topics, guest lectures on HIV issues, condom demonstration sessions and on-site voluntary counselling and testing.

The committee members should plan a calendar of events and each peer educator should decide in which activities they wish to participate.

Not all information dissemination will occur during planned activities as Peer Educators may be approached on a casual basis by co-workers who are seeking information on HIV and AIDS.

Preparing for sessions

A Peer Educator must be well prepared:

• Identify topics/issues to be covered, with appropriate exercises, and what you want to accomplish.

• Read background information before sessions.

• Choose a location that is convenient to your co-workers. If you go to where the workers are they are more likely to participate.

• Arrive on time. It is best to be early to greet participants.

8 Conducting Peer Education Sessions Participatory methods are more effective than simply providing facts to motivate people to think through their behaviour choices and to inspire change.

Encouraging participation actually makes sessions easier for Peer Educators because they do not have to do all the talking. Also, when participants find sessions enjoyable, they are more likely to attend and benefit from them.

How to conduct a session

• Introduce yourself and the goals of the session: Emphasis should be on encouraging participation and the fact that everyone’s opinions and experience are equally important.

• Create an environment of trust: Encourage participants to exercise strict confidentiality about what they hear in sessions and urge them to respect one another’s privacy.

• Be relaxed and informal: Just be yourself!

• Allow participants to have fun: Role-playing, game-playing and discussing sex can be fun.

• Avoid being judgmental or moralistic: Making participants feel guilty when they are talking about high-risk behaviour can cause them to withdraw. It is essential for educators to focus on protecting people from infection, rather than on trying to change their moral and social values.

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