209054 Use of a critical consciousness framework in an HIV prevention intervention for rural male Kenyan youth

Monday, November 9, 2009

Gary W. Harper, PhD, MPH , Master of Public Health Program, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Andrew J. Riplinger, BS , Psychology, DePaul University, Chicago, IL

The majority of new HIV infections in Kenya occur among youth. Since ethnic, national, and masculine identities (which are influenced by cultural and socio-political forces) have been linked to HIV-related behaviors, prevention efforts for Kenyan youth should address these factors. Feasibility and acceptability data from an HIV prevention intervention aimed at influencing ethnic, national, and masculine identities through increasing critical consciousness among rural male Kenyan youth will be presented.


Rural male Kenyan youth (n=36; ages 14-23) participated in a three-hour HIV prevention intervention utilizing a critical consciousness coaching technique. Guided discussions used popular media images as stimuli to critically analyze how national, ethnic, and masculine identity construction influenced the following HIV-related behaviors: unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners, substance use, sexual violence. The role of cultural and socio-political forces in shaping these identities was also explored. Participants then created individualized behavior change plans.


A mixed-methods evaluation was utilized. Quantitative data demonstrated that participants found the intervention interesting, enjoyable, and applicable to their daily lives. Qualitative data demonstrated that participants felt the intervention gave them critical insight into how cultural and socio-political factors influenced their identities and HIV-related behaviors, and how they could personally enact behavior change. Participants enjoyed active engagement in the intervention, requesting even more participatory activities related to critical consciousness and behavior change in future interventions.


This critical consciousness intervention was feasible and acceptable for rural male Kenyan youth, and could be applied in other international settings where cultural and socio-political forces impact HIV-related behaviors.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify cultural, social, and political factors that impact the HIV risk and protective behaviors of rural male Kenyan youth. 2. Describe how to utilize a critical consciousness coaching technique to raise critical consciousness among youth in Kenya. 3. Describe how a critical consciousness framework can be incorporated into future HIV prevention interventions.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director of the Master of Public Health Program and a Full Professor in the Department of Psychology at DePaul University. I develop, implement, monitor, and evaluate HIV prevention programs for youth in Kenya.
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.

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