Educational efforts to train health professionals in HIV/AIDS program planning are important to help reduce its incidence. This presentation discusses the effectiveness of a HIV/AIDS Diploma course offered to healthcare and related workers by the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico. Data were collected using electronic questionnaires sent by e-mail to past participants of both the full-version of the course, the 4-week Diplomado, and the 2-week version, the Intensivo. The course was designed to enhance the program planning skills of participants as well as to increase knowledge of the epidemiology, social implications and stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. The questionnaires attempted to assess the demographics, knowledge and capacities gained, attitude changes, amount and type work done in HIV/AIDS after the course, as well as satisfaction with the course and recommendations for improvement. There was also interest in determining whether the shorter two-week course was as effective as the longer version, as the two-week version covers the same material but requires far fewer resources. All responses were based on self-report and self-perception. A total of 69 past participants responded to the questionnaire. After taking the course, females (p=.07) and those taking the Diplomado (p=.007) were more likely to implement prevention programs on returning to their jobs. Participants reported dedicating significantly more time to HIV/AIDS (p=.01) following completion of the course compared to before. The majority of respondents from the shorter course reported both the same gain in capacities and doing similar amounts of work in HIV/AIDS as the Diplomado participants since taking the course. Intensivo participants, however, did report significantly lower gains in abilities to develop and plan programs. These results indicate that an educational course can impact participants' work with HIV/AIDS by increasing their involvement. The comparison between the different versions of the courses also indicates that the short version of the course is almost as effective as the long version; although expansion of program planning may be necessary. It is hoped that the effectiveness of this course may help it to be used as a model for other HIV/AIDS education projects both in Latin America and the world.
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