The Risk Of HIV Acquisition Among Traditional Healers In South Africa: Implementing Novel Strategies To Improve Protective Behavior

Project Narrative: Traditional healers, community-based partners with the national health system of South Africa, are exposed to patient blood an average of 1,500 times during their careers due to the practice of delivering herbal remedies via herbs rubbed into dozens of sub-cutaneous cuts. The purpose of this proposal is to compare two implementation strategies to increase consistent use of PPE: (1) a health care worker provided training program followed by 3 educational outreach and coaching visits at the healer's place of practice vs. (2) a training and educational outreach initiative led by a team of health care workers and healers who adopted and use PPE on their own (early adopters) to assess their effects on exposure to patient blood. With an HIV prevalence among healers well above that in the baseline population (30% vs. 19%) and HIV prevalence of 59% among those exposed to patient blood, this study will allow us to test a novel implementation strategy for delivering PPE training to prevent new HIV infections among a newly identified high-risk population in a region with the world's highest HIV prevalence.

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NIH Grant Number R21AI150302