Online Program

Development of two gender-specific, peer-led sexual health promotion workshops for African American college students: Findings from a pilot study

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cathleen Crain, MAA, LTG Associates, Inc., Takoma Park, MD
Niel Tashima, PhD, LTG Associates, Inc., Takoma Park, MD
Background: Risk factors for sexually transmitted infection (STI) among African American college students include their age, behaviors, and membership in dense social networks. Limited STI prevention initiatives are underway at the historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Methods: We adapted an evidence-based HIV/AIDS prevention intervention for African American women, adding a strong emphasis on self- efficacy, self-respect, and healthy relationships. We developed a companion intervention for heterosexually identified men. The intervention emphasizes healthy masculinity and healthy relationships, as well as sexual health promotion. This focus on healthy relationships capitalizes on cultural assets. We refined these interventions and trained peer educators to lead them at several HBCUs in the mid-Atlantic region. We evaluated this project through surveys, structured observations, and focus group discussions. Results: The gender-specific approach was appealing to both sexes. A one-session intervention was the most feasible, and delivering the content in this time frame was challenging. Some environmental strengths and weaknesses should be considered when planning an intervention in this setting. Strategies to improve recruitment, particularly among men, will be discussed. Both male and female students had high levels of knowledge about how STIs are transmitted, but exposure to misinformation was also common. Early results found that men were particularly responsive to the discussions of healthy masculinity and healthy relationships. Conclusion: An affirmative focus on supporting healthy relationships norms has yielded early positive results among students at a small group of HBCUs.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the current state of the art related to sexual health promotion for college students, particularly at the HBCUs. Discuss some common misperceptions about sexual health and healthy relationship promotion among heterosexually identified African American young men and women. Articulate the rationale for using a gender-specific approach to sexual health promotion with this group. List the core components of healthy relationship promotion curricula for unmarried young adults.

Keyword(s): Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked on quality behavioral health interventions for over thirty years, with racial, ethnic, and minority populations. Focus topics in my work have included: HIV/AIDS, STDs/STIs, Intimate Partner Violence, Substance Abuse, and, Mental Health. Of central interest to me has been the development of culturally grounded, asset-based, population-informed, behavioral health interventions that address multiple behavioral issues simultaneously. These interventions have been developed in collaboration with the CDC, WHO, and local and national community organizations.
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.