199202 SisterAct: A Program Evidencing the Success of Intergenerational Communication as a Strategy for HIV/AIDS Prevention among African American Girls and Women

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nayantara Watsa, BA , Community Based Organization, The Women's Collective, Washington, DC
Abby Charles, BA, MPH , Community Based Organization, The Women's Collective, Washington, DC
Issue: HIV/AIDS is increasing among women in DC at alarming rates. Although Black women make up 58% of the female population, they accounted for 90% of all new female HIV cases from 2001-2006 and represented 82% of infections among young women ages 13 to 24.

Description: SisterAct is an innovative, 10-session, intergenerational HIV prevention education intervention that builds on CDC's DEBI, SISTA, by: 1) incorporating non-judgmental, age-appropriate, cross-generational communication skills about the female body and sexual health issues; (2) using visual and spoken art, music, and dance to engage multi-generations of women in socially and culturally appropriate HIV prevention education; and (3) pairing an educational behavioral intervention with free, woman-focused, individual and family counseling and HIV counseling and testing services.

Lessons Learned: SisterAct was implemented with 121 African-American women and girls over a 6-month period. SisterAct (1) increased communication between female family and kinship network members about sexual health; (2) increased knowledge of the risk factors for HIV infection and how to prevent transmission; (3) increased participants' ability to introduce safer sex practices into their lives and their social networks; and (4) built confidence and normalcy into accessing HIV testing and family counseling.


Greater investment in the research, implementation and evaluation of cross-generational, multi-pronged HIV prevention interventions such as SisterAct, through partnerships with schools, medical providers, and religious and community organizations is necessary to ensure maximization of the beneficial outcomes of this strategy for HIV prevention for African American girls and women.

Learning Objectives:
Describe how TWC’s SisterAct model successfully builds appropriate mechanisms for effective, integrated, and sustainable communication across generations of African American girls and women in Washington, DC thus reducing their risk for HIV infection

Keywords: HIV Interventions, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have coordinated the SisterAct Intergenerational program at The Women's Collective about which this abstract was written for the last two years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.

See more of: African-American Women and HIV
See more of: HIV/AIDS