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Respeto/Proteger

Overview of the Intervention

Respeto/Proteger is a six-session, 12-hour HIV prevention program for young Latino parents with children who are at least three months of age. The program builds on feelings of parental protectiveness and the emotional attachment between a parent and a child to positively affect parental behavior. The curriculum integrates basic instruction in HIV awareness and prevention with culturally relevant discussions and activities on fatherhood, rites of passage, decision making, and responsibility. The program is delivered to small groups of couples in community and clinic settings. Couples are defined as individuals who have been involved in a romantic relationship for at least three months. The male partner is not required to be the child’s biological father.

Intervention Components

Component 1: Small-Group Couples Curriculum

The six-session curriculum is led by teams of male and female facilitators who practice the espejo (mirror) process of instruction, which emphasizes group discussion and sharing of personal experiences. The six sessions are organized as follows:

  • Session 1: Understanding Each Other. This session is intended to establish the sentiments of parental protectiveness among the participants and demonstrate how these sentiments relate to family health and safety. Discussion topics include taking responsibility, being a role model, and goals for the future.
  • Session 2: Male/Female Relationships. This session focuses on respectful and healthy behavior within a relationship through discussion and storytelling. It also provides an introduction to STDs and HIV.
  • Session 3: The Life Cycle/Young Parenthood. This session deals with the consequences of actions, and asks participants to contemplate how contracting a disease such as HIV would affect their families. It includes a guest lecture by an HIV-positive parent.
  • Session 4: Barriers to condom use and other safe practices are discussed in the context of gender roles and cultural norms. Participants are divided by gender. This session also covers HIV transmission and testing procedures.
  • Session 5: This session focuses on the decision-making process and uses a game to explore high- versus low-risk behaviors. Through a video and group discussion, this session also covers violence and substance abuse.
  • Session 6: During the final session, participants revisit the personal goals they identified in Session I and discuss the actions they must take to achieve these goals. They also draft and share a letter to their child discussing their aspiration for the child’s future.
  • Theoretical Framework

    Study Citation: Lesser, J., Koniak-Griffin, D., Huang, R., Takayanagi, S., & Cumberland, W. G. (2009). Parental protectiveness and unprotected sexual activity among Latino adolescent mothers and fathers. AIDS Education & Prevention, 21, 88-102.

    Study setting: Participants were recruited from 28 Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) sites, eight alternative schools, two community-based organizations, and one community-based clinic in Los Angeles County, California. Sessions were held in community locations and health clinics.

    Study Sample: 336 high-risk mothers and fathers who were involved in a romantic relationship

  • Mean age of 20 years for males and 18 years for females
  • 78% of males and 86% of females were Latino
  • 50% male and 50% female
  • Study Design: Cluster randomized trial. Eighty-four couples were randomly selected to participate in the program and 86 were randomly assigned to a control group that received a 90-minute didactic HIV prevention curriculum. Data were collected immediately before and after the six-week intervention and via follow-up surveys conducted three and six months later.

    Study Rating: The study met the review criteria for a moderate study rating. It did not meet the review criteria for a high study rating because the rate of sample attrition was high for the six-month follow-up survey.

    Study Findings:

    Across the baseline, three-month follow-up, and six-month follow-up surveys:

  • The proportion of males who reported having had sex without a condom in the past three months declined more for males in the program group than for those in the control group.
  • The proportion of females who reported having had sex without a condom in the past three months declined more for females in the program group than for those in the control group.
  • Curriculum Materials

    Information on curriculum materials is not currently available.

    Training and TA: Facilitators require training on the cultural knowledge and sensitivity TA required by the program. They also receive training in the espejo (mirror) instruction technique, in which leaders share their own personal experiences to convey ideas as opposed to delivering lectures.

    Additional Information

    TPP Resource Center: Evidence-Based Programs