A Pilot Study to Test a Secondary HIV Prevention and Self Care Intervention with HIV-Positive Female Sex Workers in Tijuana (Proyecto Super Mujer)

Funded by the Center for AIDS Research (parent grant # 5P30AI036214-16, NIAID) & Center for HIV/AIDS Minority Pipeline in Substance Abuse Research (CHAMPS) (Parent Grant #R25 DA 025571, NIDA);
PI: María Luisa Zúñiga

Super Mujer Bags
Rainbow Flag Employees Employees

The specific aims of the Super Mujer study are:

  1. To develop an HIV secondary prevention and self-care intervention for recently diagnosed HIV-positive female sex workers (FSWs) in Tijuana, Mexico. The intervention content is based on feedback from members of the target community and includes culturally sensitive “Prevention with Positives” messages to prevent transmission of HIV through unsafe sex and drug use behaviors and prevention of vertical transmission from HIV-positive mother to child.
  2. To assess implementation feasibility and acceptance of a “Prevention with Positives” HIV secondary prevention and self-care intervention with recently diagnosed HIV-positive FSWs in Tijuana, Mexico.
  3. To pilot test the initial efficacy of the intervention to reduce HIV-transmission behaviors and promote uptake of HIV-related care among FSWs who were recently diagnosed with HIV.

This pilot study is positioned to contribute important information about preventing the transmission of HIV from a population with high-risk transmission behaviors and potential delay of HIV care. Further, it will provide timely data to inform Mexican health policymakers about potential barriers to HIV care and secondary prevention; and, provide preliminary data for a larger project to further assess intervention efficacy. The intervention is designed to promote HIV-related care, underscore the importance of accessing HIV-related care and medication adherence, and promote behaviors to reduce likelihood of HIV transmission.

Working in close collaboration with the staff of the parent Mujer Más Segura study we will identify HIV+ female sex workers who consented to be contacted for future studies and invite them to participate in the Super Mujer pilot study. Potential study participants will undergo a separate voluntary and informed consent process for Super Mujer and participants will complete a brief pre/post intervention survey to assess key intervention components (e.g. knowledge of HIV transmission, prevention and where to access HIV services).

The ~25-minute interactive intervention is delivered by a trained health educator and has been laid out in the form of a flip-chart where the participants sees each theme portrayed with simple graphics and point-form words while the health educator (prompted by text on her/his side of the flip chart) explains the images. The health educator engages the participant and invites them to reflect on what she can do to take care of her health, reinforcing the theme of the intervention, “You are not alone” (No estás sola). Approximately two months following the session, the women will be contacted for a brief < 5 minute assessment to determine whether they accessed HIV care and their use of condoms.