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Effective Interventions

Core Elements & Fact Sheet

About Popular Opinion Leader (POL)

Popular Opinion Leader (POL) is a community-level HIV prevention intervention designed to identify, enlist, and train opinion leaders to encourage safer sexual norms and behaviors within their social networks of friends and acquaintances through risk reduction conversations.

Intervention/Strategy Goals:

  1. The intervention aims to increase condom use with main and other sex partners.

Intervention/Strategy Core Elements*:

  • Intervention is directed to an identifiable target population in well-defined community venues and where the population's size can be estimated.
  • Ethnographic techniques are systematically used to identify segments of the target population and to identify those persons who are most popular, well-liked, and trusted by others in each population segment.
  • Over the life of the program, 15% of the target population found in intervention venues is trained as POLs.
  • The program teaches POLs skills for initiating HIV risk-reduction messages to friends and acquaintances during everyday conversations.
  • The training program teaches POLs characteristics of effective behavior change communication messages targeting risk reduction attitudes, norms, intentions and self-efficacy.
  • Groups of POLs meeting together weekly in sessions that use instruction, facilitator modeling, and extensive role play exercises to help POLs refine their skills and gain confidence in delivering effective HIV prevention messages to others.
  • Groups are small enough to provide extensive practice opportunities for all POLs to shape their communication skills and create comfort in delivering conversational messages.
  • POLs set goals to engage in risk-reduction conversations with friends and acquaintances in the targeted population between weekly sessions.
  • POLs conversational outcomes are reviewed, discussed, and reinforced at subsequent training sessions.
  • Logos, symbols, or other devices are used as "conversation starters" between the POLs and others.
*Core elements are the characteristics of an individual intervention presumed to be responsible for the efficacy of the intervention.

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