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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Field Experiences in Linking Sexual and Reproductive and HIV/AIDS Services: HIV Prevention Programs for Youth in El Salvador and the Dominican Republic

Jessica Halverson, MPH, LMSW, Rupal Sanghvi, MPH, Jane Galvao, PhD, Susannah Canfield, and Victoria Ward, PhD. International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region, 120 Wall St, 9th floor, New York, NY 10005, 212-248-6400, jhalverson@ippfwhr.org

Background: Young people continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV and lack sufficient access to comprehensive information and services. Responding to this need, International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Regional Office (IPPF/WHRO) together with its affiliates Asociación Demográfica Salvadoreña in El Salvador and PROFAMILIA in the Dominican Republic implemented a three-year project to link young people with youth-friendly HIV prevention and care services. This initiative employed three major strategies: sensitizing service providers around the importance of integrating HIV/STI prevention and services for youth, establishing service and referral networks, and training peer educators. Peer educators targeted youth working in free trade zone factories in El Salvador; and local students, parents, teachers and community leaders in the Dominican Republic. Peer educators in this regional initiative provided more than 6,000 educational sessions; and youth received nearly 10,000 HIV/STI-related services, including voluntary counseling and testing.

Lessons learned: 1) Access to HIV/STI services improved due to a combination of: subsidized services, increased promotion of services through peer education efforts, and improved the internal referral and counseling process within clinics. 2) Counselors and appropriate supervision were crucial in ensuring that young people received high-quality services and support, providing one of the only stigma-free environments available to youth. 3) Coordination between governmental, non-governmental entities and private companies is possible and can expand access. 4) The peer education programs were a successful strategy for information dissemination, and also empowered the youth participants. 5) Institutional protocols and ongoing staff trainings enhanced the capacity-building process in both associations.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, the participant in this session will be able to

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA