What do men who serve as lay health advisers really do?: Immigrant Latino men share their experiences as Navegantes to prevent HIV

Aaron T Vissman, Eugenia Eng, Robert E Aronson, Fred R Bloom, Jami S Leichliter, Jaime Montaño, Scott D Rhodes
AIDS Education and Prevention: Official Publication of the International Society for AIDS Education 2009, 21 (3): 220-32
HoMBReS was a lay health adviser (LHA) intervention designed to reduce sexual risk among recently arrived, nonEnglish-speaking Latino men who were members of a multicounty soccer league in central NC. Our community-based participatory research (CBPR) partnership collected, analyzed, and interpreted qualitative life-story narratives to characterize the roles of male LHAs known as Navegantes. Nine Navegantes were interviewed. Their mean age was 39 years (range: 26-62 years); six were from Mexico and three from El Salvador. Navegantes described the function and facilitators of serving as LHAs and identified leverage points for future HIV and STD prevention strategies. They highlighted psychosocial and sociocultural influences on HIV risk, settings for risky behavior, and personal changes from serving as Navegantes. This study provides preliminary evidence that an LHA approach is feasible and appropriate for Latino men, and can be effective in reaching men who might otherwise be difficult to reach.

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