205050 Is the glass half empty or half full: How community members perceive local politicians' role in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in rural North Carolina

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 4:50 PM

Yvonne Owens Ferguson, PhD, MPH , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Don Cavellini , Freedom Hill Community Health Center, Tarboro, NC
Barbara Council , Community Enrichment Organization, Oak City, NC
Arlinda Ellison, MS , Edgecombe County Health Department, Tarboro, NC
Jerome Garner, MPH , Nash County Health Department, Nashville, NC
Stacey Henderson, MEd , Dynasty Health Solutions, Roanoke Rapids, NC
Patricia Oxendine-Pitt , NEW Sources, Inc., Rocky Mount, NC
Donald Parker, BA , Project Momentum, Inc., Rocky Mount, NC
Doris Stith, BA , Community Enrichment Organization, Tarboro, NC
Mysha Wynn, MA , Project Momentum, Inc., Rocky Mount, NC
Stepheria Sallah, BS , Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Connie Blumenthal, MPH , Cecil B. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Adaora Adimora, MD, MPH , Division of Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Giselle Corbie-Smith, MD, MSc , TraCS Community Engagement Core, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Angela Bryant, JD , VISIONS, Inc., Rocky Mount, NC
Background: Rates of HIV/AIDS continues to rise among African Americans in the rural south. Policy and advocacy efforts are potentially effective strategies to change community-level factors in HIV/AIDS transmission. As part of formative research for a community-based participatory research project to reduce HIV/STI risk among rural Africa American youth, we explored the role of local politics in addressing HIV/AIDS.

Methods: We conducted in-depth interviews with 37 community members in two North Carolina counties that have high HIV/AIDS rates. We used Atlas.ti 5.2 to manage the text data and constant comparison analysis techniques.

Results: Community members were divided in their perception of how much of a “voice” African American politicians had in their counties. Responses included: “very strong”, “big voice with no action”, and “no voice at all”. Community members identified securing funding, having forums, making HIV/AIDS part of one's political platform and increasing HIV/AIDS knowledge as practical steps politicians could take to address the high HIV/AIDS rates.

Conclusion: Most community members believed that, if motivated and informed, politicians could play an important role in reducing the rates of HIV/AIDS. These results will inform development of an HIV/AIDS prevention advocacy intervention for rural youth and their caregivers.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the benefits of formative research in intervention development. 2. Identify ways in which politicians can work within their rural communities to decrease the rate of HIV/AIDS among African Americans.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Community-Based Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a current Kellogg Health Scholar (Community Track), I am working with Project GRACE (an-NIH funded CBPR project) to analyze their data and develop an advocacy intervention for youth and their caregivers around HIV/AIDS prevention.
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.