This study will compare the effectiveness of face-to-face training versus Web-based training
seminars in disseminating HIV prevention interventions to nongovernmental organizations in
Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
An estimated total of 60 million people have been infected with HIV since the first cases
were reported in the early 1980s. Although the HIV/AIDS pandemic is a global crisis, certain
regions have been affected more than others. The Eastern European and Central Asian region,
in particular, has one of the fastest growing rates of HIV infections in the world. Most new
HIV infections in this region have been occurring among injection drug users, commercial sex
workers, and men who have sex with men, but the virus continues to increasingly affect the
general population, too. HIV prevention interventions that are able to be disseminated to a
large population are necessary. The Popular Opinion Leader (POL) intervention is an HIV
prevention program that recruits and trains opinion leaders in the community to promote safe
sex behaviors through risk-reduction conversations with peers. Administering the POL
intervention to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) may be an effective means of assuring
that the intervention is extended throughout the region. However, the best means of
disseminating the POL program and assuring its full adoption by NGOs is unknown. This study
will compare the effectiveness of face-to-face training versus Web-based training seminars
in disseminating the POL intervention to NGOs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Participation in this study will last 24 months. Potential NGOs will first undergo baseline
assessments that will include an in-depth 90-minute phone interview with the NGO director
and completion of attitude scales about the POL HIV intervention. NGOs will then be assigned
randomly to one of three study groups:
- Participating NGOs in Group 1 will receive the POL intervention through face-to-face
training. Staff will receive 2-day training on the POL intervention and individualized
telephone follow-up consultations concerning POL implementation.
- Participating NGOs in Group 2 will receive the POL intervention through Web-based
training. Staff will receive training delivered entirely by means of a Web-based,
distance learning curriculum. Staff will also be offered individualized telephone
follow-up consultations concerning POL implementation.
- Participating NGOs in Group 3 will receive no intervention.
All participating NGOs will undergo follow-up assessments 12 and 24 months after completing
the intervention training. Assessments will include a 90-minute phone interview with the NGO
director and a 10-minute phone interview with NGO staff members to assess attitudes
concerning the intervention, their adoption of the core elements of the intervention model,
and the extent of usage of training materials. A number of NGOs that report full adoption of
the POL intervention will be selected randomly to undergo a 2-day validation site visit by
an assessment team member. Site visits will be used to conduct interviews with NGO staff and
the opinion leaders, validate reports of intervention adoption, observe POL sessions, and
review materials used in training sessions.
Inclusion Criteria for NGOs:
- Located in Eastern Europe or Central Asia
- Currently offers direct HIV prevention interventions targeting sexual risk in a
- Director willing to provide organizational consent
- Director and staff members willing to provide individual consent
- Director and staff members fluent in either English or Russian
- Has reliable Internet access
Exclusion Criteria for NGOs:
- Participated in prior Medical College of Wisconsin dissemination study