Introduction American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) adolescents suffer disparities in sexually transmitted infection, HIV/AIDS and unintended pregnancy. Deficits in culturally relevant risk-reduction interventions exacerbate sexual health inequalities. Our tribal-academic partnership evaluated a culturally congruent HIV risk-reduction intervention called: Respecting the Circle of Life (RCL) through a randomised controlled trial. This analysis assesses individual level predictive factors for unresponsiveness to the RCL program.
Methods 267 AIs ages 13–19 participated; data was collected at baseline, immediately post, 6- and 12 months post-intervention. Regression analyses examined how baseline levels of 5 factors, established as pre-requisites for behaviour change, predicted responsiveness to the RCL program including: HIV prevention/treatment knowledge, belief condoms prevent pregnancy/infection, condom use intention, condom use self-efficacy, and partner negotiation on condom use.
Results The strongest intervention impact was observed immediately post-intervention. RCL had greater impact on all 5 factors among low and medium initial scorers. Overall, high initial scorers in HIV prevention/treatment knowledge and belief that condoms prevent pregnancy/infection were predictive of unresponsiveness to RCL. Specifically, never skipping school was predictive of unresponsiveness to RCL for HIV/AIDS knowledge; female gender was predictive of unresponsiveness for condom belief; and high baseline HIV/AIDS knowledge was predictive of unresponsiveness for condom use intention.
Conclusion Results suggest AI youth with higher risk factors (lower levels of knowledge, beliefs, intentions and skills) are more likely to respond to RCL. By identifying characteristics of unresponsive youth, we can modify RCL to improve its effectiveness among these subgroups. RCL is one of the first HIV risk-reduction programs developed for and rigorously evaluated with AI communities, thus replication implications are relevant for other AI/AN and indigenous populations.
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