Blog Xplore Health

400 high school students present in CosmoCaixa a new participatory method to prevent sexually transmitted infections and the stigma associated with HIV

by: Living Lab for Health - Category: Towards AIDS eradication - June 06, 2018

400 high school students present in CosmoCaixa a new participatory method to prevent sexually transmitted infections and the stigma associated with HIV

  • ·         The Co-ResponsHIVility project brings together today in CosmoCaixa, more than 400 secondary school students from 13 educational centers in Catalonia that present the results of three participatory research and innovation projects that they have carried out together with researchers and other social actors to promote an innovative approach of the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases in secondary education centers.  
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  •  ·         The students, along with the other stakeholders with whom they have worked as co-researchers, present the projects that revolve around three priorities that were identified together with more than 660 people: lack of affective-sexual education, stigma and access to HIV testing. 
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  • ·         Co-ResponsHIVility began in 2015 and is coordinated by the Living Lab for Health at the Institute of AIDS Research IrsiCaixa and promoted by the "la Caixa" Banking Foundation and the Department of Health of the Generalitat de Catalunya. It is part of the projects Xplore Health, EnRRICH and INSPIRES, and counts with the collaboration of the VU University of Amsterdam, the Center for Epidemiological Studies on Sexually Transmitted Infections and AIDS of Catalonia (CEEISCAT) of the Public Health Agency of Catalonia , Pompeu Fabra University and civil society entities.

 

Would the effectiveness of prevention interventions for sexually transmitted diseases improve if they were developed using more participatory methodologies? Is it easy for teenagers to access HIV testing? Are young people aware of the stigma attached to sexually transmitted infections? More than 400 students and teachers from 13 secondary schools in Catalonia have participated throughout this school year in three participatory research and innovation projects, in which they have worked on these issues through innovative methodologies to promote prevention and research and open and inclusive innovation, in collaboration with researchers and other stakeholders. The results of the projects, which revolve around stigma, access to HIV testing and affective-sexual education, have been presented and discussed today at CosmoCaixa on the final conference of the Co-ResponsiVIHlity project, which is coordinated by the Living Lab for Health at IrsiCaixa.

Co-ResponsHIVility is carried out within the Xplore Health, EnRRICH and INSPIRES projects with the collaboration of the VU University of Amsterdam, the Center for Epidemiological Studies on Sexually Transmitted Infections and AIDS of Catalonia (CEEISCAT), the Pompeu Fabra University and the entities of the civil society SIDASTUDI, Youth Center of Attention to Sexualities (CJAS) and Working Group on HIV Treatments (gTt-HIV). The congress has been inaugurated by the director of IrsiCaixa, Bonaventura Clotet, and by the general director of the Deputy General Director of “la Caixa” Banking Foundation, Elisa Durán. The director of R&I of the Department of Health of Catalonia, Albert Barberà, and the general sub-director of Innovation, Training and Orientation of the Department of Education of Catalonia, Àngel Domingo have also participated.

"The CosmoCaixa conference is important to compile the results and conclusions of the participatory research and innovation projects that have allowed the promotion of prevention with methodologies more aligned with the needs of young people and at the same time promote the empowerment of the educational community and the other stakeholders with competences of participation in research and innovation. These competences are key to achieve legitimate research and reverse the European paradox that leads us to publish a lot but we innovate little", explains Rosina Malagrida, project coordinator and Head of the Living Lab for Heath at IrsiCaixa.

One of the conclusions that young people have drawn from their work is that people are not aware of the stigma they exert against people infected with HIV until they spend time reflecting on it. The students therefore make a call for better reflection and education to improve the prevention of STIs and the associated stigma.

During the congress, participants have participated in workshops where they have reflected on the learning process, knowledge and skills they have acquired during the research and innovation projects, the potential impact their project will have and the future lines of action. In addition, SIDASTUDI and CJAS have explained the task they carry out for the prevention of HIV among youngsters. 

Renewing the relationship between research, innovation and education

The Co-ResponsHIVility project aims to promote a new model of the relationship between research, innovation and education through innovative methodologies that encourage the participation of students and other stakeholders in the governance, design and implementation of R&I. Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and the European Science Shop and Living Labs, which seek greater collaboration of the different social actors in the R&I, inspire the methodologies used. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the results are more in line with the values, needs and expectations of society.

Co-ResponsHIVility arose from a consultation carried out by the Living Lab of IrsiCaixa during the 2014-15 academic year, when more than a thousand high school students chose the fight against sexually transmitted diseases as the second health problem that most concerned them, behind mental health. This is a question of special relevance at a scientific and social level, since in 2016 alone there were 1.8 million new HIV infections in the world, more than 800 of which were in Catalonia. The project began in 2015 with a pilot program of participatory definition of priorities in R& I in which more than 660 representatives from different stakeholders participated. Priorities were agreed upon, among which the most relevant for the secondary school community were investigated: access to HIV testing, lack of affective-sexual education in formal education and how stigma and discrimination against HIV hinder its prevention.

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