Latino HIV Prevention: From Diffusion of Innovation Theory to a Trans-theoretical Model

Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Continental Ballroom
Patricia Canessa, PhD , Salud Latina/Latino Health, Chicago, IL

Background: Engaging Latinos in HIV prevention is a challenge beyond the utilization of behavioral interventions. It requires a thorough understanding of the contextual stressors that surround Latino's continued process of assimilation, access to health care, values, shift of gender responsibilities, beliefs and unique risk behaviors. Salud Latina/Latino Health has experimented with a variety of community-centered models, among them adaptations of the traditional Popular Opinion Leader (POL) and the formulation of our local home-grown intervention, Platicas de Comadres which has engaged women at different levels of risk into a HIV prevention campaign.

Objectives: 1) To identify Latino cultural and linguistic characteristics that may elicit a culturally appropriate framework for HIV prevention; 2) To recognize theoretical frameworks that could facilitate the formulation of Latino culturally-competent interventions; 3) To demonstrate with two practice models the effective application of two well-known theories in the design of HIV prevention targeting Latinas.

Methods: SL/LH will introduce the process in adapting the POL model to HRH Latinas and discuss the innovative design of the Platicas model. Platicas is a model that began using beauty salons as the venue where beauticians were trained in Spanish in the utilization of a model which incorporates trans-theoretical and story-telling concepts that illustrate risk behaviors and alternatives for self-care/protective and behaviors.

Results: Significantly increased HIV testing and condom use, influenced norms which included safer sex practices and promoted the inclusion of men in a community mobilization process of HIV awareness.

Conclusions: The Platicas de Comadres model reinforces alternative behaviors and rewards self-esteem and self-sufficiency among participants. Recently the Platicas model has been adapted to target partners of formerly incarcerated men.

Implications for Programs: There are few culturally-effective interventions that target Latina women living with the uncertainty of the sero-status of their partners, and those who practice risk-behaviors.
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