From North Carolina to South Africa: RTI Is Translating Effective HIV Research
This international pilot study builds on the North Carolina Women’s Co-Op and the experiences of the Principal Investigator, Dr. Wendee Wechsberg, in conducting intervention studies. The aims of the NC Women’s Co-Op study were to test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of two HIV risk-reduction interventions. The first was a standard intervention focused on HIV, drug use, sexual risk, and risk-reduction methods including the use of the female condom and assertive communications with a partner. The second, a woman-focused intervention, presented the same information but was based within an African-American woman’s culturally specific experience, with emphasis on contextual and lifestyle issues, including personal goal development, independence and empowerment. Implemented in Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, the study targeted African-American women who used crack cocaine (N=938). The findings supported the hypothesis that the woman-focused intervention helped African-American inner-city women become more independent and empowered to make better decisions concerning their health and lifestyle. These findings have been disseminated in a series of publications, with many more in the works.