If you’ve ever played the game “Telephone”, used Twitter or Facebook, or seen a viral video on YouTube, you would know how fast information and ideas can spread throughout your friend circles. What if you could find a way to harness the power of social networking to start a trend of HIV testing? What if you could tap into not only your friends’ networks, but the networks of those in your friends’ networks to spread awareness of HIV?
Peer Empowering Peers (PEP) is APAIT’s youth leadership program for LGBT men aged 18 to 24. Adapted from the CDC’s evidence-based intervention model, Popular Opinion Leader, Peers Empowering Peers identifies and recruits influential leaders in their communities and teaches and empowers them to initiate conversations on HIV testing through discussion and role play activities.
Over the course of three sessions, these Popular Opinion Leaders receive HIV risk-reduction education and have the opportunity to both acquire skills and practice how to integrate these HIV risk-reduction messages into daily conversations with their friends. The overarching goal is to penetrate the social networks of these leaders and have them inspire their friends and peers to make healthier choices through establishing HIV testing as a norm.
You can often find PEP graduates giving back to the community at Rage, LA Pride, and even future PEP social events.
For more information on the Peers Empowering Peers program, please contact:
Email or call (213) 375-3830 ext. 1819
This program is supported by funds received from the County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Health, Division of HIV/STD Programs.