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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3088.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - 11:15 AM

Abstract #116560

Cultural Barriers to HIV-Preventive Behaviors among Haitian Immigrants in Metropolitan Boston

Rebecca R. Cheezum, MPH1, Eustache Jean-Louis, MD MPH2, Nesly Metayer, PhD3, Anna Madison, PhD4, and Members Metro Boston Haitian REACH 2010 Coalition1. (1) Research Department, Center for Community Health, Education, and Research, Inc., 420 Washington Street, Dorchester, MA 02124, 617-265-0628, ext. 233, rcheezum@ccher.org, (2) Executive Director, Center for Community Health, Education, and Research, 420 Washington Street, Dorchester, MA 02124, (3) Community Development and Planning, Center for Community Health, Education, and Research, 420 Washington St., Dorchester, MA 02124, (4) College of Public and Community Services, University of Massachusetts - Boston, Wheatly Hall, Room 128A, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02170

Issues The rate of heterosexual transmission of HIV within the Massachusetts Haitian community is more than three times the rate among non-Haitians. The proportion of women among Haitian people with AIDS in Massachusetts is very high compared with the state's general population.

Description The Metropolitan Boston Haitian REACH 2010 HIV Coalition, funded by the CDC, is composed of nine Haitian community-based organizations. The Coalition works to reduce the rate of HIV transmission within the Massachusetts Haitian population. The Coalition conducts six distinct workshops, each targeting a sub-population, using six specifically-designed curricula. Additionally, the Coalition launched a media campaign, trains media and faith leaders in HIV-prevention, and provides a culturally competency training for social service and medical providers who serve Haitians. As part of the program evaluation, a community survey was executed in order to provide baseline community level data. The evaluation also includes a pre- and post- test for program participants.

Lessons Learned Data from the Community Survey and qualitative data from program execution indicate several barriers that affect the HIV-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviors among Haitian immigrants in Massachusetts. These include: Stigma related to HIV Attitudes/beliefs about homosexuality. Gender roles o Intimate Partner Violence/Control o Men have multiple sexual partners Lack of knowledge among newly-arrived Haitian immigrants Haitian concept of disease Perception of risk Socio/economic status Cultural assimilation

Recommendations The barriers to individual HIV-preventive behaviors identified lie at both the ecological and individual level. Therefore, a culturally- and linguistically appropriate intervention at multiple levels is essential.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: HIV Risk Behavior, Immigrants

Related Web page: www.ccher.org

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Sexual Health and Personal Responsibility: The Burden of HIV/AIDS on the African-American Community

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA