Taking charge of our own HIV/STD prevention: an empowering community intervention with MSM and transgender persons in Lima, Peru
A. Rosasco1, S. León1, E. Lugo1, V. Villacorta1, X. Salazar1, C. Sandoval1, T. Coates2, C. Cáceres1
1Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Facultad de Salud Pública y Administración, Lima, Peru, 2University of California, Los Angeles, United States
Issues: Peru has a concentrated HIV epidemic among MSM and transgender (TG) persons. Despite substantial investment by the Global Fund the epidemic continues, as well as the stigma and discrimination against MSM and TG that affect their health seeking behavior. We designed a community intervention aimed
(1) to organize and empower MSM and TG persons as their own HIV/STD prevention agents; and
(2) to fight stigma and discrimination by promoting their acceptance in their community.
Description: In 8 low-income neighborhoods, MSM and TG leaders were recruited and trained by facilitators in: HIV prevention, STD/HIV educational skills, peer counseling, leadership, TLGB rights, and organizational skills. Seventeen months after the first 4 weeks, the leaders received financial and technical support to create community centers where they offered HIV/STD prevention activities to their peers and other individuals or organizations within their community. The leaders were trained to develop a business plan to ensure the sustainability of the centers.
- After the 17 months, 7 out of the 8 centers remained working on prevention.
- Several of the centers established links with other institutions in their communities (schools, health centers) as well as with TLGB networks.
- MSM and TG persons were recognized and accepted in their communities as experts in HIV/STD themes.
- Facilitators were rotated in order to eliminate the dependency of the centers’ leaders on them.
Next steps: For future interventions we recommend:
- A better selection of facilitators with the appropriate profile (drive, motivation).
- To obtain a cohesive commitment for prevention among MSM and TG leaders before starting the community center.
- The sustainability business plan should start shortly after the creation of the centers.
- For the sustainability it is important to establish strategic alliances with other similar organizations or networks.
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