Online Program

A social network intervention to improve the sexual health and promote HIV testing among Latino sexual minorities

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Scott Rhodes, PhD, MPH, Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Jorge Alonzo, JD, Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Manuel Garcia, Chatham Social Health Council, Siler City, NC
Mario Downs, Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Cynthia Miller, Division of Public Health Sciences/Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy, Wake Forest Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC
Aaron T. Vissman, MPH, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Ricky L. Duck, BS, Chatham Social Health Council, Siler City, NC
Eugenia Eng, MPH, DrPH, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Issues: Although Latino sexual minorities, including gay and bisexual men, MSM, and transgender women, are disproportionately affected by HIV and STDs, few efficacious HIV prevention interventions exist for these communities.

Description: The HOLA intervention was developed, and is currently being implemented, by a community-based participatory research partnership in North Carolina (NC). The intervention is designed to increase condom use and HIV testing among recently-arrived, non-English-speaking Latino sexual minorities.

The intervention harnesses the natural helping of informal community leaders who are carefully trained and supported to work within their social networks. These leaders (known as Navegantes) serve as: health advisors to provide information and referrals related to HIV/STD prevention, testing, care, and treatment; opinion leaders to bolster positive and reframe negative of cultural norms and expectations of behavior; and advocates to promote support for sexual health.

The HOLA intervention was designed to be culturally congruent and address the realities faced by Latino sexual minorities. Participants explore how being a Spanish-speaking Latino in the southeastern US and a sexual minority within the Latino community impacts behavior.

Lessons Learned: Eleven Navegantes were trained. Process data indicate that one-quarter of Navegante helping activities included condom distribution and 15% included discussing sexual health. Referrals to HIV testing remain low (6%) of all helping activities.

Recommendations: Although the HOLA intervention has been well received by Navegantes and members of their social networks, research is needed to determine whether low referrals to HIV testing is related to immigration policy enforcement and/or the cultural congruence of available resources.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe an innovative HIV prevention intervention for recently-arrived Latino sexual minorities. Delineate the ways in which culture norms and expectations impact behavior and can be harnessed for health promotion among Latino sexual minorities.

Keyword(s): Latino, Gay Men

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am PI of multiple NIH and CDC studies particularly focusing on HIV prevention within immigrant Latino communities and sexual minority communities. I have published >100 peer-reviewed papers on CBPR and HIV prevention.
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.