Louisiana PREP: Engaging Communities and Empowering Participants in STD/HIV Prevention Programming

Young people in the Sisters Informing, Healing, Living and Empowering (SIHLE) programTo date, Louisiana PREP has reached more than 2,000 African American female adolescents through implementation of the Sisters Informing, Healing, Living and Empowering (SIHLE) program. The program—which focuses on STD/HIV prevention—has successfully engaged communities across the state in the program and as a result has high levels of participant engagement and community support. According to Ty-Runet Bryant, the Program Coordinator, there are several factors that make SIHLE unique. These include the facilitation team, an open and welcoming environment that is nonjudgmental, and the involvement of a community advisory board.

SIHLE emphasizes ethnic and gender pride, healthy relationships, assertive communication, and enhances awareness of STD/HIV risk reduction strategies such as abstaining from sex, using condoms consistently and correctly, and having fewer sex partners. As defined in the curriculum, the facilitation team for SIHLE involves two near-peers so that participants “see their peers teach each other” says Bryant along with an adult facilitator. This unique team allows for open and informed conversations. Bryant also notes that the involvement of the community advisory board (CAB)—a requirement of SIHLE—has been critical for building community support. Specifically, since the group has started implementing SIHLE, they have seen, “a lot more community involvement in CAB meetings, youth are more knowledgeable, and youth want to stay involved even when the program is over.”

Evaluations suggest that the program is able to connect in a way that is fun as well as informative. On their feedback forms, participants reported:

  • “I learned to always get tested and to use condoms so I won’t be at risk of getting any STDs.”
  • “This session was very good. I really liked it. I thought it was going to be boring but it was good.”
  • “I had a great time I really enjoyed the session today, hopefully I learn something else when I come back.”

Five organizations are currently implementing SIHLE program statewide:

  • The Greater Baton Rouge YWCA, Acadiana C.A.R.E.S. in Lafayette
  • Southwest Louisiana Center for Health Services in Lake Charles
  • Louisiana Prevention Training Center/Baton Rouge AIDS Society in Baton Rouge
  • The Philadelphia Center in Shreveport and Monroe
  • Face to Face Enrichment Center in Hammond

Bryant also credits “venues for best practice sharing” both virtually and during in-person annual conferences as key for supporting high quality implementation across sites. The high quality implementation and important STD/HIV prevention content led one participant to remark, “I am proud to be a SIHLE sister.”

Was this page helpful?

Step One
I found this page helpful because the content on the page: (check all that apply)
I did not find this page helpful because the content on the page: (check all that apply)

Your feedback is important to us and will help improve our website. Thank you!

Step Two
Back to Top