Peer-led intervention programs to educate women with HIV (WILLOW), to reduce the risk of contracting HIV in sexually active, African American teenage females (SIHLE), and to increase condom use in African American women (SISTA).
- Are classified as either best-evidence or good-evidence and have been through rigorous evaluation.
- WILLOW & SISTA are defined by the CDC as Tier 1 evidence-based intervention (the most rigorous classification such interventions can have).
- Show efficacy as a behavioral intervention at an individual-, group-, and community level for high-risk populations.
The rate of new HIV infections among young, black females aged 13-29 is 11 times higher than that of young, white females and four times higher than young, Hispanic females. In addition, the vast majority of young, black women with HIV were infected through heterosexual contact. The CDC instituted a High Impact HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (HIP) as part of a single strategy, the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), to combat existing and prevent new infections of HIV. HIP relies on training and education modules that have been proven effective through rigorous research designs, so that the positive outcomes can be attributed to these interventions. With input from these researchers, the materials necessary to implement these interventions have been packaged into user-friendly kits; and with the appropriate training and kits, service providers can conduct effective HIV prevention and education programs in their communities.
Three interventions have been developed, implemented, and evaluated at Emory University. The interventions are each targeted to a specific population. SISTA (Sisters Informing Sisters on Topics about AIDS) is a social-skills training intervention for African American women to reduce HIV sexual risk behavior in five 2-hour sessions, delivered by peer facilitators in a community-based setting. Women who completed the SISTA intervention were found to be more likely to report increased consistent condom use and partners' adoption of consistent condom use as well as greater sexual self-control, sexual communication, and sexual assertiveness. SIHLE (Sisters Informing, Healing, Living, and Empowering) is a peer-led, social-skills training intervention to reduce HIV sexual risk behavior among sexually active, African American teenage females (ages 14-18). It consists of four 3-hour sessions, delivered by two peer facilitators (ages 18-21) and one adult facilitator in a community-based setting. WILLOW (Women Involved in Life Learning from Other Women) is a social-skills building and educational intervention for adult women living with HIV (ages 18-50 who have known their HIV status for at least 6 months). The program consists of 4 four-hour sessions that are delivered by two trained adult female facilitators, one of whom is a woman living with HIV. An adaptation of the SISTA intervention, WILLOW emphasizes gender pride, coping strategies to reduce life stressors, awareness of STD transmission and reinfection behaviors, and a number of other safer sex practices. Both SISTA and WILLOW are defined by the CDC as Tier 1 evidence-based intervention (the most rigorous classification for evidence-based interventions) and has shown widespread adoption.
Course materials for all three interventions can be viewed at http://www.effectiveinterventions.org/en/HighImpactPrevention/Interventions.aspx. Licenses for commercial use are available.