PIMS - Grantee Success Stories
- Grantee Organization Name: California Prevention & Education Project (CAL-PEP).
- Organization Address (Street, City, State, Zip): 1504 Franklin Street, Suite 302, Oakland, CA 20002.
- Organization website URL (if any): www.calpep.org
- Brief Description of the Organization: Founded in 1984, the California Prevention & Education Project (CAL-PEP) is a not-for-profit organization using grassroots and mobile outreach to ensure that disadvantaged communities in San Francisco and Alameda counties receive adequate health education and risk reduction services. Particular health priority areas include HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and STD transmission.
Grant Project Information
- Title of Grant Project: HealthSpace: Linking High-Risk Youth in Alameda County through Peer Outreach & Technology Networks
- Amount of OMH Award: $247,874
- Name of Project Director: Gloria Lockett
Brief Description of the Grant Project
CAL-PEP provides health education, disease prevention, and support services to vulnerable populations in Alameda and San Francisco counties who are at high risk of, or currently living with, HIV/AIDS. The HealthSpace intervention utilized peer educators to conduct outreach and provide comprehensive services to at-risk youth ages 16 to 24 in alternative educational settings (i.e., the juvenile detention system, court-ordered care, foster care, and group homes). Key components of the program included conducting mobile and venue-based rapid HIV-testing; providing culturally competent Comprehensive Risk Counseling Services (CRCS); and using individualized case management to connect participants to prevention services at partner agencies.
Technology and web-based communication were integral to the success of HealthSpace. For example, a website (i.e. www.Hypechat.org) was created as a platform for peer educators to write blogs about practices to ensure sexual health and prevent HIV. Social media/networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were also used to disseminate health information to youth through a virtual web community. Also, a text line service, Sex-Text Line, was developed to enable youth to ask questions or seek help in a fast, comfortable, and accessible manner.
CAL-PEP expected the program to enhance participants knowledge of their HIV status as well as their understanding of important preventative practices. Long-term outcomes included a reduction in risky behaviors among high-risk youth and improved continuity of care for HIV-positive persons. It was anticipated that at least 2,250 youth would be reached through mobile and site-based rapid testing and an estimated 20 new HIV-positive youth would immediately be linked to comprehensive medical and psychosocial services.
The grantee utilized a pre-post design to implement a process and outcome evaluation. The process component focused on tracking the number of HIV-positive participants, the number and type of HIV prevention sessions provided, and the number of staff and partners involved. Participant surveys, administered before and after the program sessions, were used as a key data source to determine changes in HIV/AIDS knowledge, awareness, and health behaviors. Data was also collected through focus group interviews with participants, which provided insight on how to refine and improve the program.Key program findings reported throughout the grant period:
- An increase in testing and awareness of HIV status. Testing occurred among 2,248 youth at 112 alternative educational sites. An additional 1,023 youth were tested and given results through additional educational workshops. Out of a total of 15 individuals who tested positive for HIV, all were linked to a primary care provider.
- A reduction in risk behavior. Of the 920 youth who participated in an HIV educational session and completed the survey, 62 percent wrote on the pre-post test quiz that they would modify at least one key HIV risk behavior, including using condoms, practicing abstinence, reducing the number of sexual partners and/or choosing to discuss their sexual history with their partner(s).
- Social media was an effective outreach tool. The online educational website, www.Hypechat.org, received a total of 46,088 unique visits over the three-year grant period.
Identified Best Practice
- Developed a virtual web community. The grantee spent a lot of effort developing Hypechat.org, a website with blogging, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. A safe sex telephone text line with links to answer questions and provide education via text was also created. In year 1, there was an influx of young people posing questions on the website and using the safer-sex text line. The website was developed so people could collect information in addition to asking question through blogs and forum posts. Hyperchat.org is considered one of the leading sexual education websites in the Bay Area. Visitors to the site have expanded beyond just the Bay Area and the United States to the United Kingdom, France, Mexico, and other countries. The grantee also sent two Hypechat.org supervisors to the SexTech Convention in San Francisco, Calif., to learn how to increase website hits.
Related National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities Goals
- Awareness: Increase awareness of the significance of health disparities, their impact on the nation, and the actions necessary to improve health outcomes for racial, ethnic, and underserved populations.
- Leadership: Strengthen and broaden leadership for addressing health disparities at all levels.
Related Healthy People 2020 Objectives & Subobjectives
- HIV-3 Reduce the rate of HIV transmission among adolescents and adults
- HIV-4 Reduce new AIDS cases among adolescents and adults
- HIV-5 Reduce new AIDS cases among adolescent and adult heterosexuals
- HIV-6 Reduce new AIDS cases among adolescent and adult men who have sex with men
- HIV-13 Increase the proportion of people living with HIV who know their serostatus
- HIV-14.4 Increase the proportion of adolescents and young adults who have been tested for HIV in the past 12 months