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Archived Intervention/Strategy


This group-level, gender- and culturally- relevant intervention, is designed to increase condom use with African American women. Five peer-led group sessions are conducted that focus on ethnic and gender pride, HIV knowledge, and skills training around sexual risk reduction behaviors and decision making.

The intervention is based on Social Learning theory as well as the theory of Gender and Power. The SISTA project specifically targets sexually active African-American women.

Important CDC Update: 

The CDC’s strategy for High Impact HIV Prevention involves prioritizing and implementing an optimal combination of cost-effective, scalable interventions based on the current state of the science.  This shift should help improve the effectiveness of HIV prevention efforts, reduce HIV incidence, and ultimately increase the possibility of achieving an AIDS-free America.  In its ongoing effort to align HIV prevention resources with current surveillance data and this strategy, the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP) at CDC will not offer trainings or capacity building assistance on the following evidence-based interventions (EBIs): AIM, ¡Cuídate!, Focus on Youth, MIP, Nia, RAPP, Safety Counts, SHIELD, SIHLE, SISTA, Street Smart, RESPECT and VOICES/VOCES (except when used with MSM). The Division also will not offer trainings or capacity building assistance on some new EBIs, such as Healthy Love. Health departments or other funders may continue to support implementation of these EBIs, and the implementation materials for several of these interventions will remain on this site and be available for download. If you have additional questions about this issue, please contact

How to request SISTA training and technical assistance

As listed above, CDC no longer offers training or capacity building for SISTA. If SISTA training is desired, you may contact any of the SISTA master trainers listed below to make individual arrangements to obtain training. All costs associated with receiving SISTA training will be paid by the requesting agency or individual. A printer friendly version of the SISTA master trainer list is available under Additional Info. 
Joan R. Ferguson
Lucid Communications
Telephone: (314) 995-4629
Patricia A. Frye, DrPH, MPA, CPH, MCHES
Telephone Number: 601.815.9000
Email Address:

Marilyn Ricker Kases, MPH
Inca Consulting
Telephone Number: 314.322.3130

Dana Williams 
The Community Wellness Project
Telephone: 314.421-9600 
Velesha P. Williams
Telephone: 601.238.7685

SISTA Webinars

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with assistance from the Academy for Educational Development (AED), held eight SISTA Webinars during April 1 - June 4, 2009 to discuss revisions to the SISTA Intervention Package.

SISTA Resource Guides

The Resource Guide for Adapting SISTA for Latinas

The Resource Guide for Adapting SISTA for Latinas is available for download

This guide was created to provide practical technical assistance and resources to staff of community-based organizations who want to use the Sisters Informing Sisters about Topics on AIDS (SISTA) intervention with Latina populations. The Resource Guide for Adapting SISTA for Latinas (Guide) was developed over the course of three years by the American Psychological Association (APA) Behavioral and Social Science Volunteer (BSSV) Program in collaboration with staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The BSSV Program is funded by CDC to provide capacity-building assistance (CBA) for community-based organizations (CBOs), health departments, and HIV prevention community planning groups (CPGs).  

T-SISTA: A Resource Guide for Adapting SISTA for Transwomen of Color is available for download at under T-SISTA Toolkit.

The T-SISTA Resource Guide provides information about adapting SISTA for transwomen of color. T-SISTA features an overview of trans-specific HIV risk factors and risk behaviors, real-world adaptation examples, adaptation suggestions, and a “Sheroes” trans pride campaign. The session-by-session adaptation suggestions are based on real-world adaptations of SISTA for transwomen of color, epidemiological data, current scientific literature on transgender issues, and staff expertise at the Center of Excellence for Transgender Health ( and the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (, at the University of California, San Francisco. 

The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health and the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies are funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide capacity-building assistance for community-based organizations and transgender community mobilization.

Research and Development

DiClemente, R.J., Wingood, G.M. (1995). A randomized controlled trial of an HIV sexual risk reduction intervention for young African-American women. Journal of the American Medical Association, 
274 (16): 1271-6.

Program Review Panel Information

The CDC requires all CDC-funded agencies using the SISTA intervention to identify, or establish, and utilize a Program Review Panel and complete Form 0.1113 to document this activity. The intervention researchers and developers are not involved in this activity. This is a CDC requirement for their grantees, and all questions in this regard should be directed to your agency's CDC Project Officer or to the health department funding your agency's implementation of the intervention.

CDC Policy on Youth Peer Outreach Workers

CDC funded (directly or indirectly) agencies using youth (either paid or volunteer) in program outreach activities need to use caution and judgment in the venues/situations where youth workers are placed. Agencies should give careful consideration to the "age appropriateness" of the activity or venue. Additionally, agencies should comply with all relevant laws and regulations regarding entrance into adult establishments/environments. Laws and curfews should be clearly outlined in required safety protocols developed and implemented by agencies directly and indirectly funded by CDC.

If you have specific questions, please contact your CDC project officer.

SISTA Core Elements

  • Convene small-group sessions to discuss the session objectives, model skills development, role-play women's skills acquisition, and address the challenges and joys of being an African American woman
  • Use skilled African American female facilitators to implement SISTA group sessions
  • Use cultural and gender appropriate materials to acknowledge pride, enhance self-worth in being an African American woman (e.g., use of poetry by African American women)

  • Teach women to communicate both verbally and nonverbally to show that she cares for her partner and needs to protect herself (i.e., negotiation skills, assertive communication skills)
  • Instruct women on how to effectively and consistently use condoms (i.e., condom use skills)
  • Discuss cultural and gender-related barriers and facilitators to using condoms (e.g., provide information on African American women’s risk of HIV infection)
  • Emphasize the importance of partner’s involvement in safer sex (i.e., enhance partner norms supportive of condom use)

Capacity Building Branch:    Phone: 404.718.7850    E-mail:
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