248872 Social networks and HIV prevention: Qualitative Insights from an Intervention with Male Clients of Female Sex Workers in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:30 AM

Clare Barrington, PhD, MPH , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Paul Fleming, MPH , Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Santo Rosario, BA , Centro de Orientacion e Investigacion Integral (COIN), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Melchor Moya, BA , Centro de Orientacion e Investigacion Integral (COIN), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Deanna Kerrigan, PhD, MPH , Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Purpose: Male clients of female sex workers are rarely engaged in HIV prevention interventions despite their power in condom negotiation. Previous research in the Dominican Republic found that male clients' social networks may provide a naturally existing tool for HIV prevention. The purpose of the current study was to examine the experience of male clients trained as peer educators, called voluntarios, to promote HIV protective behaviors within their social networks.

Methods: We conducted qualitative interviews using a semi-structured guide with 17 purposively sampled voluntarios. Interview topics included project experiences, social networks, and sexual behavior. We developed topical codes, applied them to text with Atlas.tiŠ, and summarized outputs with matrices.

Results: Participants indicated improved knowledge about HIV transmission and condom use skills as personal benefits of being a voluntario. There were few examples, however, of voluntarios taking a leadership role in project activities; instead, most provided logistical support to female sex worker peer educators. Participants displayed more comfort providing HIV-related information to men through outreach activities rather than ongoing discussion with social network contacts. Within their social networks, voluntarios described advising about what men should do to prevent HIV transmission more often than discussing their personal experiences.

Conclusions: Findings indicate that while voluntarios appreciate obtaining new information and participating in HIV prevention efforts, they do not automatically assume a leadership role or engage their personal network ties. Future efforts should develop leadership and communication skills so that men can initiate and sustain promotion of HIV protective behaviors within their social networks.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the experience of and HIV prevention intervention with male clients of female sex workers in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 2. Identify lessons learned regarding how to engage men and their social networks in HIV prevention efforts

Keywords: HIV Interventions, Peer Information Network

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the data collection and analysis for the study described in the abstract in collaboration with the co-authors.
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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