Arts-based strategies have become increasingly popular for HIV prevention and education with Indigenous youth; however, there is a lack of research on their implementation and effectiveness.
The aim of this study was to evaluate Indigenous youths' HIV/AIDS knowledge and attitude change after participation in an arts-based HIV/AIDS education workshop. Eleven self-identifying Indigenous youth, ages eleven to seventeen, attended a 3.5-day participatory filmmaking workshop hosted as part of a community-based study examining the use of the arts in HIV prevention with Indigenous youth in Labrador. Participatory filmmaking was used to engage participants and facilitate dialogue about HIV/AIDS, sexual health, and health in general. A mixed methods design was used to assess knowledge and attitude change. Participants completed pre and post-test survey before and after the workshop. Approximately two weeks later, youth participated in in-depth interviews about their experiences.
Using content analysis, interview transcripts were analyzed for themes related to HIV/AIDS knowledge and attitude change. Participants' knowledge and attitudes about HIV/AIDS improved after the workshop. HIV/AIDS knowledge and attitudes scores improved by 21.7% (Mean difference (M) = 3.9; 95% CI 2.8- 5.0) and by 18% (M = 1.8; CI 95% 0.7-2.9) respectively. Analysis of the interview transcripts revealed that participants:
1) learned what HIV is;
2) learned how HIV is transmitted;
3) learned about stigma;
4) operationalized new knowledge;
5) learned about boundaries/healthy relationships; and
6) attributed their knowledge and attitude change to the environment created through participatory filmmaking.
These findings suggest participatory filmmaking is a promising strategy for HIV/AIDS education with Indigenous youth. Improving HIV/AIDS knowledge and attitudes among Indigenous youth is an essential component of addressing the overrepresentation of Indigenous youth in the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Canada.