2002 Rapporteur Notes

Rapporteur Notes from the 2002 CAPS Conference:
Addressing HIV Prevention in Context

This year, the conference featured rapporteurs for each conference track who reported back at the end of the day to present the highlights and overarching issues from each of the workshops. The research and agency-based rapporteurs gave a sense of the “CAPS Conference in Context.”

Model Progams – Dellanira Valencia-Garcia

Three different session were observed. Please see the Conference workshop page for more information on:

  1. UFO, the young injectors program
  2. Respect the Line, a middle school program for boys and girls
  3. Prevention for Positives

No Such Thing as Model Program

One of the main themes in the presentations was that interventions take a tremendous amount of time, energy and support to implement. In fact, although the title of this workshop track is “Model Programs”, there is no such thing as an ideal model program that will be effective for all groups of people. Even model programs still need to be tailored to fit the needs of each community.

Community Buy-In

One main point that was not directly discussed but pivotal to all programs was the fact that there must be a great amount of community buy-in in order for interventions to be successful. Community interventions take a long time to be identified, normalized and adopted from the community. Even when there are dynamic interventions, as those presented, if the community does not embrace it, the intervention will not succeed.

Sexual Networks

Another main theme evident in these programs, was the fact that we must understand the sexual networks and sexual mixing patterns (i.e., partners age, partners sexual behavior, etc.) of women and men in order to better identify their risks. Identifying personal risk factors is only one layer of risk to unravel. By identifying and understanding people’s sexual networks (i.e., their sexual partners) will give us a broader insight on the context of people’s sexual behavior.

Women at High Risk

Programs for adult women and adolescent girls are needed! Increasing evidence shows that women are placing themselves at high risk for infection. For example, the Respect program, while not an abstinence program, has been successful in delaying early sexual behavior in boys more so than in girls. In the Prevention for Positives workshop, most programs targeting HIV+ individuals did not seem to include women, however, one program did mention their target group was female sex workers. While half of the Prevention for Positive programs received funding only for conducting formative research, women (i.e., HIV+ heterosexual women) were usually not targeted. This is alarming considering the high rates of new heterosexual infections occurring among African American and Latino women.

In Closing

After attending the “Model Program” workshops, I walked away with a sense of empowerment believing that there are programs that are educating our youth and targeting various sections of our community in hopes to decrease HIV infections. The interventions observed are model programs because they are breaking new ground and pioneering new innovative programs that have proven effective for HIV prevention within their target populations. These “Model Programs” further exemplify that interventions that are tailored to target communities do indeed make a difference in the lives of many people.

Dellanira Valencia-Garcia was the Project Director for the Female Condom Intervention Trails (FEMIT) at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California San Francisco. Her research interests focus on Latino women, culture, mental health and social policy.

Last modified: January 25, 2011