1) Peer education and support has been shown to be one of the most efficient vehicles for providing women, including adolescent girls, with knowledge and skills and for influencing behavioural intention and change. Peer educators clearly play an important role in supporting and maintaining safer sexual behaviour among women, particularly because they are able to provide individual counselling to members of their group.
2) To maximize effectiveness of interventions, participants should be involved in programme planning and in the selection of peer educators. Experience has shown that peer educators selected from outsiders are not necessarily the same as those that the women would themselves choose.
3) Not only should programme recipients play the major role in selecting their leaders, they must be consulted in advance in order to determine and plan the appropriate interventions and messages that will be the mainstay of the peer education programme.
4) A number of avenues for enacting peer education projects have been identified, not only for giving information about AIDS prevention, but also for disseminating information that would reduce discrimination against people who are HIV-positive, and supporting and protecting women with HIV/AIDS.
5) Workplace-based peer education programmes have proved to be effective in providing information about HIV/AIDS to women, and give the added support of a naturally formed support group for discussing complex issues related to sexuality including, for example, fidelity, violence and sexual abuse.
6) It has been shown that women can be effectively reached by integrating AIDS-related activities into existing women’s organizations. Not only do these organizations provide an important infrastructure for delivering information about HIV/AIDS, because they are part of the community, they help to ensure that activities will be sustained over time.
7) It is important to address the expressed needs of women as far as possible, be they general sex education, legal advice, or a referral, concurrently with providing AIDS education.
8) Approaches to promote safe sexual behaviour must go beyond the provision of information and emphasize improved communication between sexual partners, including negotiation skills in sexual decision-making that build on culturally acceptable norms and behaviour and that minimize the possibility of violence towards women as a result of their refusal to engage in unsafe sex.
9) Although peer education, whether carried out in the workplace or through existing women’s organizations, must be a cornerstone of AIDS prevention activities, the role of other avenues (e.g. through health and other social services) should not be minimized.
10) Professionals who show respect and empathy for women can be effective as AIDS educators, counsellors and facilitators in the process of behaviour change.