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AIDS. 2007 Apr;21 Suppl 2:S59-68.

The community popular opinion leader HIV prevention programme: conceptual basis and intervention procedures.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe the community popular opinion leader (C-POL) intervention employed in the NIMH Collaborative HIV/STD Prevention Trial, including its theoretical, conceptual, and empirical basis, intervention procedures and methods, core elements, and how its content was culturally tailored to address the needs of varied populations.

DESIGN:

The programme is designed to identify, recruit, train, and intensively engage C-POLs of a target population to convey HIV risk reduction messages to people in their communities, with the intention of reducing high-risk behavior at a population level.

METHODS:

Based on the diffusion of innovation theory, the intervention identified, trained, and engaged C-POL within a high-risk community population to advocate, recommend, and endorse the importance of safer behavior to other members of the same population. Nine core elements of the intervention are discussed. Data collected during rapid ethnography were used to adapt the content of the intervention for food market owners and workers in China, male patrons of wine shops and at-risk women congregating nearby in India, young people in social gathering venues in Peruvian barrios, dormitory students in Russia, and people congregating in commercial areas of growth points in Zimbabwe.

RESULTS:

The C-POL intervention model taps into community strengths, altruism, and people's desire to do something to help fight against AIDS. With few exceptions, C-POLs participated enthusiastically in the training sessions and reported having conversations in the community.

CONCLUSION:

Rapid ethnography can be used to tailor an intervention to diverse settings while maintaining fidelity to the core elements of the intervention.

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