Popular Opinion Leader (POL)
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Popular Opinion Leader (POL)

  • 10/20/2022

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  • Description:
    Popular Opinion Leader (POL) is a community-level intervention designed to identify, enlist and train key opinion leaders to encourage safer sexual norms and behaviors within their social networks of friends and acquaintances through risk-reduction conversations. Cadres of trusted, well-liked men who frequent gay bars are trained to endorse safer sexual behaviors in casual, one-on-one conversations with peers at bars and other settings. During these conversations, the POL corrects misperceptions, discusses the importance of HIV prevention, describes strategies he uses to reduce his own risk (e.g., keeping condoms nearby, avoiding sex when intoxicated, resisting coercion for unsafe sex), and recommends that the peer adopt safer sex behaviors. Popular opinion leaders wear buttons displaying the project logo, which also is on posters around the bars, as a conversation-starting technique. Each POL agrees to have at least 14 conversations with peers and to recruit another POL. POLs attend four weekly 90-minute training sessions that involve didactic and group discussions, modeling of effective health promotion messages, and extensive role play.
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