Passage house as model for AIDS education of street children

F. Knaul, A. Vasconcelos

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


The Casa de Passagem is a comprehensive project which reaches out to aid street girls in Recife, Brazil. Driven by the basic human needs of food, clothing, and shelter for daily survival, many of these youths prostitute themselves at great risk of HIV infection. Street educators work on streets frequented by prospective clients, and constitute the 1st phase of a 3-level approach. If workers succeed in making inroads with these girls, interested girls are then encouraged to partake of services offered at the Casa de Passagem. There, they are able to receive counseling, therapy, education, meals, showers, medical attention, and affection from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. Where time permits, program staff work with the girls to develop income generation projects. In the 3rd and final phase of the program, street girls either rejoin their parents or move into 1 of 4 community houses run by the projects. There, they assume responsibility for themselves and live on their own. In addition to these program activities, the Casa de Passagem holds workshops and supports local initiatives to strengthen and unite the neighborhood. Where HIV infection and AIDS are particularly concerned, the girls' need to prostitute for daily survival makes AIDS education and behavioral change difficult. To help girls believe that HIV is real, program workers have used microscopes to reveal the existence of objects of microscopic proportions. Further measures include teaching street girls that the shrewd among them take precautions against HIV infection, counselling and providing condoms where possible, training former street girls to serve as peer educators, and holding peer group meetings to think of preventive steps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalAIDS Education and Prevention
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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