203542 Building the Capacity of HIV Peer Educators as part of Interdisciplinary Teams to meet the Needs of the Underserved

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sharon M. Coleman, MS, MPH , Data Coordinating Center, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Serena Rajabiun, MPH , Health and Disability Working Group, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Bill Bower, MPH , Division of Infectious Diseases, Harlem Hospital, New York, NY
Harry Dohnert, Peer Mentor , Division of Infectious Diseases, Harlem Hospital, New York, NY
Background: The Peer Education Training Initiative funded by the Health Resources & Service Administration provides training to people living with HIV/AIDS from communities of color to serve as peer educators. Three centers, located in California, Missouri, and New York, have developed peer training programs tailored to their target populations. The training sites all address key peer educator competencies including treatment adherence and communication with health care providers.

Methods: The training curricula for peers will be presented. A Peer educator will discuss the successes and challenges encountered with training and strategies for sustaining the peer programs as part of HIV care. Techniques for evaluating the emerging role of peers in HIV care and preliminary results of a multisite evaluation exploring the impact of the peer training on participants' knowledge and skills will be shared.

Results: To date 423 peers have been trained. At the time of the 6-month interview, the most prevalent services offered by peers included: provision of emotional support, helping clients understand the importance of HIV medications, and discussing behavior changes. Overall, knowledge scores improved significantly at 6 and 12-month follow-up.

Conclusions: This initiative builds upon evidence that peer educators have a positive influence on reducing HIV risk behaviors, facilitating entry into care and improving health outcomes for chronic conditions. Given the complexity of HIV treatment, it is essential that peers are equipped with the skills and knowledge to help their clients stay in care and adhere to treatment. This presentation introduces a training program that addresses these issues.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of this panel presentation, the audience will be able to: 1) Discuss different training methods for people living with HIV to be peer educators and help people living with HIV remain in care and adhere to treatment. 2)Identify key competencies, successes and challenges when designing, implementing, and sustaining a training program for HIV-infected peers. 3)Articulate evaluation outcomes of peer training programs for persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Peer Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Past presentor at APHA Co-author and First Author on articles related to Targeted Outreach programs to engage and retain underserved populations in HIV primary care
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.