XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Identifying and addressing, in a culturally responsive manner, HIV prevention NGO needs: an application of regional needs assessments

M. Vega

Latino Commission on AIDS, research and evaluation, new york, United States

Background: Because needs assessments are culturally-responsive and client-centered they are an important element in capacity building assistance (CBA). The Latino Commission on AIDS conducted regional-level needs assessments in order to understand the needs that NGOs and health departments alike have with respect to HIV prevention services for at-risk disenfranchised communities and to gather capacity-building recommendations for an expanding HIV prevention workforce.
Methods: The assessment team conducted 22 focus groups (170 participants), 13 key informant interviews, and administered a total of 166 surveys across the U.S. northeast and Caribbean region. The focus groups were stratified by staff type (line staff, supervisor) and organization type (NGO, health department). Focus groups were coded for family themes utilizing Atlas Ti. The respondent-gender breakdown was 60% women/40% men.
Results: Across the regions there were three common barrier levels to providing HIV prevention and testing services: programmatic (e.g. adequate materials); agency (infrastructure); and external (e.g. funding). There were four cross-cutting themes: stigmatization impacts the delivery and accessing of services, staff burnout is pervasive-particularly due to inadequate staffing, there is a lack of inter-agency collaboration which hinders the maximization of resources, and there is a challenge recruiting and retaining program participants. Assessment participants noted a growing mis-match between funding and program needs and that HIV prevention field now represents a “knowledge economy” instead of also representing the marginalized community at-large. Top training requests included: cultural competency, stigma, and staff assessments.
Conclusions: A dialogue centered on assets and needs between NGOs and health departments needs to be bi-directional and continuous. Moving forward in addressing the HIV epidemic key stakeholders can utilize a holistic multidisciplinary approach to share lessons learned and resources. Training institutes that include the transfer of skills to the workplace and foster regional partnerships should be implemented. By bolstering the HIV prevention workforce more effective programs can be implemented.

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