Latina immigrants in farmworker communities are a vulnerable and understudied population who are at a high risk for contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Nationally, rates of new HIV infections among Latinas are more than four times that of non-Latina white women – and the rates are even higher for those in marginalized populations.
Researchers from Florida International University Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work’s Center for Research on U.S. Latino HIV/AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) and Drug Abuse (CRUSADA) recently concluded a three-year study on the effectiveness of the Centers for Disease Control’s SEPA (Salud/Health, Educación/Education, Prevención/Prevention, Autocuidado/Self-care) program. According to the CDC website, SEPA is an evidence-based, culturally tailored HIV/AIDS behavior change intervention for heterosexually active Latinas between the ages of 18 and 44at risk for HIV and STD infection due to unprotected sex with male partners.
“Latinas are particularly vulnerable when they are in stable, heterosexual relationships in these communities as many of the men do not adhere to maintaining a monogamous relationship,” said Dr. Patria Rojas, assistant professor in the department of health promotion and disease prevention at Stempel College and principle investigator on the study. “Culturally, sex is an extremely private aspect of their life and these women have not been taught about condom use or been given the tools to verbally express their sexual concerns.”
Results show that recent Latina Immigrants self-efficacy for HIV prevention increased after the intervention with participants reporting higher levels of self-efficacy as well as indications of significant increases in condom use among participants.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on November 22