158402 Generations: Culturally competent HIV prevention for Native American women

Tuesday, November 6, 2007: 4:45 PM

Kathleen E. Perkins, MPA , Director, Division of Health Improvement, Medical Care Development, Augusta, ME
Sharon Tomah, LCSW , Wabanaki Mental Health Association, Bangor, ME
Miigam Agan , Wabanaki Mental Health Association, Bangor, ME
Donna Augustine , Maine Migrant Health Program, Augusta, ME
Patricia Neptune , Maine Migrant Health Program, Augusta, ME
Barbara Ginley, MPH , Maine Migrant Health Program, Augusta, ME
Purpose: Native American tribes in Maine are matriarchal. This presentation will discuss an innovative, privately-funded collaboration among tribal and non-tribal agencies in Maine that builds on these traditions to provide peer education, outreach and HIV testing with settled and migrant Native American women and families.

Methods: The National AIDS Fund and Johnson & Johnson created the GENERATIONS Project to address women of color affected by HIV/AIDS. Our program increases HIV/AIDS awareness among Native Americans by: 1) conducting outreach and HIV rapid testing on two reservations, at multi-tribe events and at migrant camps during the blueberry raking season; 2) Supporting Maine Indian women to increase knowledge about the disease and to help change the attitudes of the community regarding the importance of HIV prevention; 3) Incorporating prevention education in to cultural events such as the Rites of Passage ceremonies for youth and traditional women's gatherings.

Results: We have formed a successful partnership that builds on the skills and talents of traditional healers and Maine Indian women living with HIV to reduce stigma and expand HIV education and testing. Maine Indian women have been remarkably open to HIV education and testing. We have also been able to adapt and implement two CDC-approved interventions in our community.

Conclusions: By building capacity within the traditional tribal structures and individuals to provide HIV testing and education, we changed attitudes and expanded HIV testing in an underserved population.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe role of traditional healers and peer educators in HIV prevention among Maine Indian women. 2. Recognize successful strategies for developing culturally competent HIV prevention programming. 3. Discuss implications of matriarchal cultural traditions in HIV prevention.

Keywords: Women and HIV/AIDS, Underserved Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.