February is National Condom Month. Created to bring greater awareness to the effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, National Condom Month presents an opportunity for organizations to highlight and advance their condom promotion and distribution activities. As we near the end of the month, Farmworker Justice urges communities to continue to promote condom usage as an effective HIV prevention method.
Studies suggest that condom adherence tends to be low among rural Latinos, due to poverty, cultural norms that don’t encourage condoms use, limited access to healthcare services, low literacy, and language barriers. For optimal adherence to condoms, condoms have to be available without restrictions in rural Latino areas, and individuals must feel self-confident enough to use them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages partners, to pursue a High-Impact Prevention (HIP) approach. One of the principle HIP strategies that has been proven effective is Condom Distribution as a structural level intervention.
In order to align our HIV prevention efforts with HIP, the Poder Sano team is finalizing a training module on condom distribution as a community-wide intervention for HIV prevention. This new module will be incorporated into our existing curriculum, Training Promotores de Salud in HIV Prevention in Rural Latino Communities: A Train-the-Trainer Curriculum. The new module equips promotores de salud with the necessary skills to plan, implement and evaluate a community-wide condom distribution project. Promotores will assess the availability, accessibility and acceptability of condoms in their communities and then develop activities that respond to gaps in these three areas.
Another innovative way Farmworker Justice is trying to change attitudes and cultural norms related to condom use is through a customizable Spanish-language Public Service Announcement (PSA), titled Mejor Cuidate (Better Take Care of Yourself). This Spanish-language PSA which is set up as a conversation between peers, encourages and normalizes condom use for young Latino men. A customizable tagline allows for tailored information to be recorded by local organizations that air the PSA.
We encourage you to advance condom distribution in your communities by ensuring that condoms are more available, accessible, and acceptable. By doing so, we can reduce the spread of HIV.
If you are interested in obtaining the condom distribution module for promotores de salud and/or Mejor Cuidate, our PSA promoting condom use among Latino youth, please contact HIV@farmworkerjustice.org