Background: Women Empowered & Standing Tall (WEST) is an HIV/STI prevention intervention designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of minority women who have a male partner that is incarcerated or recently released from prison. WEST empowers women in a group setting how to effectively communicate, relationship building, negotiation skills, and creates a positive view of self. Once this is accomplished women are trained to become peer educators to their family and friends. This helps to reduce the spread of HIV and enhance the lives of community members.
Methods: SISTA, VOICES & Community Promise are combined into a five-session intervention to educate and empower women in a safe environment. Women gain self-confidence in their abilities to negotiate safer sex, effectively communicate their wants and needs and make informed decisions based on the information they have obtained. SISTA is used to enhance negotiation skills, VOICES help to increase condom usage and Community Promise is utilized to turn women into peer educators which helps them talk to others about their new skills. Pre & post tests are used to establish a baseline of knowledge and measure outcomes. These are given at enrollment and graduation.
Results: A 22 question pre/posttest was distributed to assess knowledge, skills, and intentions at enrollment and graduation. At the base-line pre-test knowledge was 66% and at post-test it increased to 85%. Data was collected for 188 participants between 3/2010 and 9/2012.
Conclusions: Using the aforementioned combination of effective interventions WEST has proven to increase knowledge of HIV while empowering women to negotiate safer sex and enhance their negotiation skills. This helps to decrease HIV incidence in minority women and their families.