We’ve been featuring some of the most notable achievements in our history, including developing one of the first feasible approaches to nonreusable syringes for immunizations and building a rapid, affordable test for HIV. Now, here’s the sixth in our series on PATH’s milestones.
2001 to present
The health challenge: Changing attitudes and behaviors to prevent HIV transmission is difficult in developing countries where subjects such as sex and gender relations may not be openly discussed.
What we did: PATH pioneered an approach for using interactive community theater performances, called magnet theater, to encourage behavior change. PATH-trained actors stage performances in central gathering places to explore issues such as HIV/AIDS, family planning, tuberculosis prevention, and the consequences of early marriage, and to encourage discussion and problem-solving among audience members. The performances lay the groundwork for new attitudes and social norms to take root.
The result: Magnet theater has been used to reach parents in Benin, sex workers in India, and teens in Kenya, and has produced some of PATH’s most visible examples of behavior change.