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The Experiences of Young Men, Their Families, and Their Coaches Following a Soccer and Vocational Training Intervention to Prevent HIV and Drug Abuse in South Africa.

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Young men in South Africa are at high-risk for HIV, substance abuse, and gender-based violence. This article presents qualitative results from a pilot study testing soccer leagues and vocational training to engage young-adult township men to deliver preventive interventions, including rapid HIV and alcohol/drug testing, shifting attitudes toward gender-based violence, and promoting other prosocial behaviors. Three groups participated in focus groups and in-depth interviews on experiences with the program: (1) a subset of 15 participants, (2) 15 family members, and (3) five intervention coaches. Results suggest that participants first reduced substance use on tournament days and then gradually reduced to practice days and beyond. Families suggested that "keeping young men occupied" and encouragement of prosocial behaviors was critical to risk reduction and led to increased community respect for the men. Coaches noted that behavioral and attitudinal changes were incremental and slow. The use of incentives was problematic and more research is needed to understand how incentives can be used in interventions of this nature.

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