208422 Implementing a peer educator program in methadone maintenance for HIV prevention and women's reproductive health

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kimberly A. Potter, MPH, MSW , Division of Substance Abuse, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva Univeristy, Bronx, NY
Russelle Miller , Division of Substance Abuse, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva Univeristy, Bronx, NY
Angela Jeffers, MA , Department of Family and Social Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY
Hillary Kunins, MD, MPH, MS , Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY
Issues: Drug-involved women are at high risk for HIV, STIs, cervical cancer, and complicated pregnancies yet are challenging to engage in prevention and care. One engagement strategy is to enlist peer educators to deliver prevention and service navigation interventions.

Description: Project GROW (Giving Resources and Options to Women) serves women enrolled in a methadone maintenance treatment program (MMTP). Our MMTP provides on-site HIV, routine gynecologic, and primary care. Project GROW offers group HIV prevention groups, reproductive health counseling, and service navigation to off-site prenatal or gynecologic care. Once completing our HIV prevention series, interested female program clients can undergo training in group facilitation, active listening skills, women's health, and service navigation. Trained GROW Peers facilitate HIV prevention groups and accompany MMTP clients to off-site prenatal and gynecologic appointments. Peers also participate in a monthly support group. They receive a stipend for each activity. To date, 17 clients have become GROW Peers and have delivered 353 services.

Lessons Learned: Implementing a peer educator program focused on HIV prevention and women's health is feasible within an MMTP. Feedback from peers indicates that stipends and an ongoing support group promote retention. MMTP clients are receptive to working with peers, and accept them as group leaders and escorts to appointments. GROW peers report relying on each other for support in staying healthy.

Recommendations: Implementing a peer-led women's HIV prevention program in an MMTP program is possible, can engage clients, and provide supportive services to promote healthy behaviors among peers themselves and fellow MMTP clients.

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe the benefits of using peer educators to engage high risk women in HIV prevention and a women's health program. 2.List various services peer educators can provide in a program aimed at reducing HIV and STD transmission, and encouraging women to engage in their healthcare. 3.Identify possible benefits in the role of peer educator. 4.Identify strategies to promote retention among peer educators.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have complete both a MPH and a MSW degree, and currently am the Project Coordinator/Health Educator on the project I wish to present at the conference.
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: Women and HIV: Emerging Issues
See more of: HIV/AIDS