The southeastern United States has the fastest-growing Hispanic/Latino population in the country and carries a disproportionate HIV burden. Among Hispanics/Latinos, men, and men who have sex with men (MSM) in particular, are at elevated risk of HIV infection; however, very few efficacious behavioral HIV prevention interventions are available for use with this vulnerable population. To address this shortage of prevention resources, our community-based participatory research (CBPR) partnership developed and is currently evaluating the efficacy of the HOLA en Grupos intervention to increase condom use and HIV testing among Hispanic/Latino MSM.
We recruited 304 Hispanic/Latino MSM who were randomized to receive the small group HOLA en Grupos intervention that was implemented during four 4-hour long sessions over four consecutive Sundays, or a 4-session small group general health education comparison intervention. At the end of the fourth session of the HOLA en Grupos intervention, the intervention facilitators asked participants to write down the sexual health-related behaviors they intended to change as a result of their participation.
Qualitative analysis of the participants' responses identified six types of intended behavior changes: increasing and maintaining condom use; identifying strategies to support correct and consistent condom use; increasing communication and negotiation with sexual partners about condom use; getting tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections; applying other sexual health promotion strategies; and sharing newly learned sexual health information with their peers.
Most risk-reduction intentions aligned with the intervention's key messages of using condoms consistently and getting tested for HIV. However, participants' stated intentions may have also depended on which behavior changes they perceived as most salient after participating in the intervention. Participants' intentions to share information with their peers may result in elements of the intervention content reaching others within their social networks, and potentially contributing to a broader community-level impact.