Development of an opinion leader-led HIV prevention intervention among alcohol users in Chennai, India.

Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
AIDS Education and Prevention (Impact Factor: 1.59). 05/2004; 16(2):137-49. DOI: 10.1521/aeap.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In 1999, we began a community-based randomized controlled prevention trial in Chennai, which aims to test the efficacy of HIV prevention messages disseminated through members of an individual's social group called community popular opinion leaders, or CPOLs. We targeted patrons of 100 bars or wine shops in the city of Chennai, India. In this article we report on the process of development of an HIV prevention intervention for wine shop patrons. First, we conducted detailed ethnography to understand social norms and CPOL and social network characteristics, including 41 in-depth interviews among wine shop patrons and gatekeepers. Second, we tailored a generic HIV education training manual to appropriately address the needs of Chennai wine shop patrons. Field-testing involved 16 focus groups with wine shop patrons and 12 sessions of participant observations in wine shops. Finally, we piloted the intervention to determine the appropriateness of the training program and its content among wine shop patrons. Our ethnographic data indicated that wine shops are a common meeting place for men. We were able to identify CPOLs influential in these settings and train them to deliver appropriate prevention messages to their close friends and associates. We found that HIV prevention messages in this population need to dispel misperceptions about HIV transmission, provide strategies and skills to adopt and sustain condom use, and target the role of alcohol in sexual behavior. We outline specific lessons we learned in intervention development in this population.

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