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Health Educ Res. 2002 Aug;17(4):389-403.

The protective effects of community involvement for HIV risk behavior: a conceptual framework.

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School of Public Health, University of Illinois-Chicago, 60612-4394, USA.


This paper presents a conceptual framework of the protective effects of community involvement in HIV/AIDS-related groups and organizations for HIV sexual risk behavior among gay and bisexual men. The framework delineates hypotheses for future research, and provides a guide for prevention programs based on the active and direct involvement of participants, particularly communities of color. The framework (1) argues that community involvement moderates the association between three socio-structural risk factors (i.e. poverty, homophobia and racism) and sexual risk behavior; (2) posits that community involvement in HIV/AIDS reduces sexual risk behavior via its effects on four mediating factors (i.e. peer norms, self-efficacy, positive self-identity and alienation); (3) proposes five socio-cultural barriers to and facilitators of community involvement in HIV/AIDS (i.e. motives for participation, poverty, acculturation, stigma and perceived opportunities); and (4) addresses burnout as one potential negative consequence of community involvement in HIV/AIDS-related organizations and groups. The conceptual framework advances the understanding of HIV sexual risk behavior by integrating both its socio-structural risk and protective factors. It contributes to health education by specifying how interventions based on collective action (e.g. community involvement) for social change may be effective in generating healthy behaviors at individual and community levels.

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