250423 Training formerly incarcerated women as health promoters: An underutilized HIV/STI prevention model

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 11:10 AM

Catherine Christeller, MS , Executive Director, Chicago Women's AIDS Project, Chicago, IL
Sharon McDaniel , Chicago Women's AIDS Project, Chicago, IL
Mimi Doll, PhD , Candeo Consulting, Inc., Chicago
The public health community has focused on incarceration as an opportunity for the delivery of HIV and STI prevention and treatment inside the correctional system. Very few efforts have targeted the 80% of women involved in the criminal justice system who have re-entered the community on parole or probation. The majority of these women are arrested for non-violent offenses related to their drug use or involvement with drug using partners. Sisters Reaching Out, a community-based program developed by the Chicago Women's AIDS Project, trains formerly incarcerated women as HIV/STI health promoters while providing three months of case management and supportive services. A qualitative and quantitative outcome evaluation was conducted with the first three program cycles composed of 19 African-American women. Evaluation methods included a behavioral survey conducted pre- and post intervention and at six months. Focus groups were conducted with a convenience sample of participants. Initial findings indicate high program retention and program satisfaction, increased condom use with casual and exchange partners, and increased discussion of HIV risk with peer networks. Key qualitative findings highlight the importance of trust to achieving high completion rates and the barrier that lack of employment poses to the recovery process. The authors conclude that training formerly incarcerated women as health promoters and harm reduction advocates is an underutilized HIV prevention intervention that has the potential to decrease risk behaviors and improve health outcomes for both the program participants and their broader social network.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control

Learning Objectives:
1. List the factors that put formerly incarcerated women at high risk of HIV/STI infection. 2. Identify the core components of an effective HIV intervention for drug-involved women with a history of incarceration. 3. Explain the key qualitative and quantitative outcomes of the Sisters Reaching Out evaluation. 4. Discuss the strengths of the health promoter model for community-based HIV prevention with drug using women.

Keywords: Incarceration, Women and HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have been developing, implementing and evaluating HIV prevention programs for 22 years. I oversaw the formative research for the intervention being described in the presentation.
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.