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Minority Community HIV/AIDS Partnership:
Preventing Risky Behaviors among Minority College Students (MCHP)

Grantee: National Council on Negro Women
Washington, DC 20004
Project:  Combating HIV on Campus: Engaging Black Female Students in the Fight Against AIDS
Amount: $898,746
Grant Period: 2010-2013

Project Description | Key Program Findings | Related Goals

Project Description
The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) is a council of 39 affiliated, national African American women’s organizations and over 240 sections, connecting nearly four million women worldwide. Its mission is to lead, develop and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities. The purpose of the Combating HIV on Campus program was to address the disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS on young African American women. This burden stems from a lack of power in romantic relationships, lack of awareness of HIV risk factors and the stigma associated with contracting HIV/AIDS. This project intended to raise awareness among young African American female students at Howard University and Bennett College of their unique risk for HIV infection, to increase their knowledge of HIV risk factors, to teach condom negotiation skills, and to engage female students in culturally and gender appropriate interventions.

In order to achieve the objectives, the grantee formed partnerships with Howard University, Bennett College, Community Education Group and Nia Action Community Center. They worked together to host biannual on-campus HIV testing events; created and distributed HIV fact sheets and research briefs; supported Sisters Informing Sisters About Topics on AIDS (SISTA), an evidence-based HIV prevention intervention using both social cognitive theory and the theory of gender and power; contributed at least four articles about HIV/AIDS per year to each campus’ newspapers; and provided technical assistance to NCNW affiliates. Expected outcomes included: 1) increased awareness of the facts surrounding HIV transmission, 2) increased awareness of the overwhelming prevalence of HIV among young black women, 3) increased awareness about risks under the influence of drugs and alcohol, 4) increased awareness of HIV status, 5) an improved internalized code that makes self-protective behavior non-negotiable, 6) improved communication skills in relationships, 7) improved condom negotiation skills and 8) decreased acceptance of partner behavior that increases risk of HIV transmission.

Process measures included number of women who received an HIV test, women who attended events, women who received pre-/post-test counseling and women who participated in the SISTA intervention and completed the intervention. Pre- and post-test assessments examined participants’ attitudes towards condom use, situations participants had experienced that could have made it difficult to utilize condoms, participants’ levels of confidence in their abilities to utilize condoms, their knowledge of HIV and AIDS and their engagement in sexual activity and risky behaviors. Evaluation of the social media campaign Me@30 included analytics offered by social media sites, and awareness of the campaign was tested through surveys.

Key Program Findings Reported throughout the Grant Period

  • Changes in attitudes. The percent of Howard University participants (Year 2) who believed they could discuss condom use with their main partner increased from 78 to 100 percent (pre-/post-test). In Year 3, the numbers rose from 87.5 percent at baseline to 95.83 percent at time of post-test.
  • Changes in behavior. Over the life of the project, 100 of the 288 participants reported a reduction in multiple partners, and 250 reported increased condom usage.
  • Increased HIV testing and serostatus knowledge. A total of 3,207 students and non-students were tested and given their test results. Three students tested positive and received services and continuum care within 30 days.
  • Increased HIV awareness and dialogue. The Me@30 campaign had 1,967 Facebook followers, 272 Twitter followers and a total of 33,374 views of student-produced public service announcements. Focus groups found that participants continue to employ the skills learned from the intervention, such as negotiating certain situations with partners, passing on safe sex practices information to friends and encouraging friends to get tested.

Identified Best Practice

  • Tailored evidenced-based practice for a specific audience. NCNW implemented the Sisters Information Sisters about Topics on AIDS (SISTA) to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and prevent HIV infection among black female college students by ensuring that the messages get across and healthier behaviors are adopted. The grantee used evaluation forms to allow participants to comment on their experiences in the program. Forms allowed participants to rate the program using a Likert scale as well as comments. These comments proved to be very useful in helping program facilitators adjust for future sessions and address the needs of the participants. In the third year of the program, 90 percent and 100 percent of participants at Bennett College and Howard University, respectively, rated the program a 10 out of 10. During focus groups, numerous participants indicated that they still use some of the skills learned from SISTA and that they were spreading their knowledge gains by encouraging their friends to get tested for HIV and use safer sex practices.

Related Goals

National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities

  • 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
  • Health System and Life Experience: Improve health and health care outcomes for racial, ethnic and underserved populations
  • Leadership: Strengthen and broaden leadership for addressing health disparities at all levels

Healthy People 2020 Objectives and Sub-objectives

  • HIV-14.1: Increase the proportion of adolescents and adults who have been tested for HIV in the past 12 months
  • HIV-3: Reduce the rate of HIV transmission among adolescents and adults
9/15/2014 5:09:00 PM