Title

Promoting Transformative Community Change for Equitable Health: Peer Education and Intervention for Pre-Exposure HIV Prophylaxis

Abstract

Many new HIV infections occur through individuals who are unaware of their HIV status. HIV disparities are more prevalent among underserved populations, and the number of new cases in the U.S. is highest in the Southern region. Using the Social Network Intervention, 63 undergraduate students delivered a face-to-face, communication-centered, peer education to 333 peers in the underserved communities; of those, 220 verified cases were analyzed. A baseline assessment was followed by the intervention and the second assessment, with the third assessment 2 weeks later. Assessments measured intervention impacts on health information sharing, knowledge about HIV/AIDS, and the dimensions of vested interest theory. The peer education was effective in making changes in participants’ vestedness, knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS, and trust and expectation toward informational sources. Communication and tailored messages through established relationship channels were proven crucial for promoting positive behaviors about HIV sexual health, with strong evidence of change in stigma and the culture of silence.

Publication Title

Journal of Health Communication

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