RTI International, Belize Defense Force to reduce HIV transmission risk among Belize military forces

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — As part of a new award from the Department of Defense, RTI International will partner with the Belize Defense Force to reduce the risk of HIV transmission among Belize military forces.  

Military personnel worldwide have been recognized as a population at elevated risk for HIV infection. Belize is estimated to have the highest HIV prevalence in Central America, and HIV risk is significant in the Belize military population. 

“We are excited to partner with the DOD and the Belize Defense Force to address this critical health issue in an innovative way,” said Mike Anastario, Ph.D., research sociologist in RTI’s Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice research division and the leader of the project. “The BDF has been progressive in its approach to using research to inform prevention efforts. By making significant changes to the peer education model, we expect the intervention to result in an overall reduction of HIV risk among BDF personnel.”

Within the grant, the project will seek to retrain peers to implement principles and techniques with their co-workers that will result in a decrease in HIV risk behaviors. New intervention strategies that will be implemented by peers include strengthening self-management skills for behavior change, risk reduction goal setting, active strategies for positive change, and self-monitoring techniques.

BDF will work with RTI to evaluate how this type of program reduces high risk behavior among BDF personnel, and how best to refine and implement these types of programs in the future.  The results of the intervention will be evaluated by behavioral and medical outcomes. 
 

Highlights

  • RTI International will partner with the Belize Defense Force to reduce the risk of HIV transmission among Belize military forces
  • Belize is estimated to have the highest HIV prevalence in Central America, and HIV risk is significant in the Belize military population
  • The project will seek to retrain peers to implement principles and techniques with their co-workers that will result in a decrease in HIV risk behaviors