Testing: Positive

August 31, 2010  | 2 min read

jillian kisseeA public policy student's Indonesian teen survey yields hopeful trends in HIV/AIDS prevention.

May 19: It is our first day here in Jakarta and we are grateful to have arrived safe and sound after a 20-plus-hour flight. Week one of our internship is dedicated to getting us acquainted with all the programs that HOPE Worldwide Indonesia has to offer. They range from TB clinics to disaster relief and preparedness, to educating children that cannot afford school and maternal health care education, to mention a few.

May 31: I have officially been given my task for the remainder of my time here in Indonesia: to research HIV/AIDS in Indonesia and come up with a HIV-drug prevention program for youth in Indonesia. My plan of attack is to utilize HOPE's plentiful list of expert contacts and pick their brains for everything they know on the subject. I also plan to conduct a survey among adolescent youth to understand their perception and behaviors having to do with sex and drugs. From this point forward in my blog, I will be sharing the progress of my research (with some off-topic entries of course).

June 8: I created a survey to gather information on sexual-behavior trends of teens in Indonesia. The responses will be used to help me understand the culture when it comes to the subject of sex, like frequency of condom use, drug use, and general social influences on sexual activity. I have also met with an HIV/AIDS specialist for USAID. She believes that injecting-drug use, which has been the source of the dramatic increase in HIV infections since the turn of the century, is now under control. The prominent source of the continued increase in HIV infections in the most recent years is due to sexual transmission via male and female sex workers and promiscuity in the more rural provinces.

June 14: Today was a perfect example of a typical visit to a school to conduct my survey. I was accompanied by Donald, a staff member at HOPE, who helped me greet the headmaster and also served as a translator to the students. I explained to them the purpose of the confidential survey and what their responses will help me accomplish. After the survey we opened the classroom to question-and-answer sessions.

June 24: The preliminary results are in! To cut to the chase (or to the juicy information), very few students reported doing drugs or being sexually active. My conclusions thus far are that open communication, accurate safe sex education, and exploring where the pressure for sex originates would be important in the program. If you are looking for scandalous information, the surveys are not where you find it. However there are some key and interesting findings.

Learn more about Kissee's findings and get her full story, then check out other School of Public Policy bloggers: publicpolicy.pepperdine.edu/admission/student-blogs