At-risk women can promote health through social networks
(HealthDay)—Women at risk for or living with HIV can, with some guidance, carry out health promotion messages through their informal social networks, according to a study published online Aug. 29 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Preventing Chronic Disease.
Pamela Rothpletz-Puglia, Ed.D., R.D., from Rutgers University in Newark, N.J., and colleagues recruited 57 women to participate in in-person or online meetings as part of Shout-Out Health, a project providing the opportunity for women at risk for or living with HIV to carry out health promotion within their informal social networks. Participants developed health topics which were evaluated for accuracy before promotion through their informal social networks.
The researchers found that more than 50 percent of the participants reported substantial life challenges, including unemployment and housing problems. Women in both groups were able, with technical support and a modest stipend, to provide health promotion to 5,861 people through their own informal social networks.
"Findings from the Shout-Out Health community project show that given support, discussion, training, and information, at-risk community members can successfully provide health promotion to other high-risk community members and may personally benefit by helping others in their community," the authors write. "Future programs like Shout-Out Health should include the evaluation of participants' personal gains, community-member health outcomes, and the long-term and sustainable effects of building social networks for health."
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