230165 Positive youth development as a successful approach to preventing HIV among African American adolescent girls

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Maritza Valenzuela, MPH CHES , AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth & Families, Washington, DC
Sable K. Nelson , Program Associate for Training and Education, AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth & Families, Washington, DC
Linda H. Scruggs, MHS , Director of Programs, AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth & Families, Washington, DC
Carole Treston, RN MPH , Executive Director, AIDS Alliance for Children Youth & Families, Washington, DC
Issue: African American adolescent girls are disproportionally represented among new HIV infections in the United States. Prevention programs must address the complex factors contributing to the epidemic among this population. Positive youth development (PYD) approaches strengthen young people's resiliency and ability to overcome factors that increase their risk of HIV infection and are an important prevention strategy available to CBOs serving these populations. However, many community-based organizations (CBOs) that serve African American youth at greatest risk are ill-equipped to implement PYD programs. Description: The Girls 4 HOPE program, through funding by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Adolescent and School Health, builds the capacity of youth-serving CBOs to incorporate culturally appropriate positive youth development principles into sexual and reproductive health programming for African American and Latina adolescent girls and their families. The Girls 4 HOPE program has provided customized capacity building assistance (CBA) to enhance staff knowledge and skills on positive youth development, cultural competence, and youth empowerment to 19 organizations across the United States. Lessons Learned: According to four years of aggregated data, CBOs that serve adolescents at high risk for HIV demonstrate a need for training on using PYD approaches in sexual health and HIV prevention programs, understanding the developmental stages of adolescence, and adapting programs for diverse populations. With customized CBA, the staff of youth-serving CBOs can effectively utilize PYD approaches within African American communities and maximize existing resources. Recommendations: The use of PYD programming by CBOs serving African American teen girls is encouraged in order to increase the girls' resiliency against risk factors for HIV infection. Providing CBA to organizations serving special populations at high risk of HIV infection is encouraged in order to strengthen prevention programs. Effective CBA recognizes and addresses the linkages between social injustices and HIV rates in the African American community, includes long-term follow-up support, and addresses the unique assets and challenges of each CBO.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the impact of HIV on African American youth and their communities. Discuss the relationship between social justice and the impact of HIV on African American communities. Explain the purpose and value of providing training on positive youth development to community-based organizations that serve African American adolescent girls at high risk for HIV infection. Identify the principles of positive youth development. Describe how the principles of positive youth development can be utilized in HIV prevention and sexual health programming.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Adolescent Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I manage a CDC-funded program that provides capacity building assistance to CBOs targeting African American and Latina teen girls.
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.