Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the process of developing and implementing a bilingual, web-based HIV/STI intervention targeting at-risk Latina adolescents.
Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to discuss the challenges and facilitators of developing and implementing an online intervention.
Methods: An expanded Information-Motivation-Behavioral skills model guided the development of GirlSmart. We developed intervention materials adapted from prior work and other evidence-based programs. GirlSmart aimed to increase young Latina’s knowledge and motivation to engage in protective sexual behaviors and empower them to initiate and maintain HIV/STI preventive behaviors through online skills building. Development of GirlSmart included integration of Latino culture throughout. A programming team was engaged in the initial planning phases to ensure understanding and functionality of GirlSmart. Both the intervention and assessments were conducted online. During an iterative process of programming and pilot testing, corrections were made and a number of lessons were learned.
Results: GirlSmartincluded five modules: peer pressure, sexual activity, HIV/STI, pregnancy and family planning, and substance use. Each module included four types of materials: (1) Risks: sex-related information and culturally relevant case scenarios to promote critical thinking and decision making; (2) Resilience: skill-building and motivational concepts, illustrations, and exercises to build individual personal and interpersonal competencies; (3) Reflection: learn to realistically assess their own strengths and vulnerability, clarify their own values and norms, and engage in problem-solving; and (4) Response: share what she is learning with someone important (increase motivation through social support), discuss ideas to see how they work and find ways to make them work more effectively (skill building).
Conclusion: Feasibility and acceptability of GirSmart are examined to provide essential information to inform the development of future, larger-scale interventions. We noted a number of lessons learned; the intervention was very acceptable, however, there were feasibility challenges that were overcome.