SEPA-O Intervention: An HIV Prevention Intervention for Older Hispanic Women

Wednesday, 24 July 2013: 3:30 PM

Rosina Cianelli, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN
Schol of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Miami; Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Coral Gables, FL
Nilda (Nena) Peragallo, DrPH, RN, FAAN
Schol of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
Natalia Villegas, PhD, MSN, RN
School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify SEPA-O as an intervention targeted to reduce HIV risk among Older Hispanic women in Florida.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify and understand the importance of implementing culture-specific interventions that target populations at high risk of acquiring HIV.

Purpose: Successful HIV prevention and intervention strategies that target older minority populations are virtually nonexistent. Specially, Older Hispanic Women (OHW), historically have received relatively little HIV related attention. In the U.S., OHW are a minority, however they represent 23.3% of the HIV cases among Hispanic women. HIV prevention programs tailored to the needs and cultural patterns of OHW have not been tested. The purpose of the study is to examine the acceptability and feasibility of SEPA-O (Salud/Health, Educación/Education, Promoción/Promotion, y/and Autocuidado/Self-care), an intervention specifically designed for OHW responding to the urgent needs of this group of women.

Methods: Ten women participated in the pilot testing of SEPA-O intervention, in Miami, Florida. SEPA-O consisted of four sessions, two hours a week. OHW learned and discussed various topics related to menopause and age related changes, sexual life, intimate partner violence and substance use and how to protect themselves from HIV. Eligibility criteria included: self identified as Hispanic, being 50 years and older and reporting sexual activity within the past 6 months. Recruitment was done in NGOs and public areas.

Results: Overall, participants were “satisfied” with the intervention. They reported that the topics were relevant to their culture and age group. Specifically, women commented that dialogues focused on cultural perceptions and attitudes were helpful and allowed them to self-identify with the information provided in the group. In addition, the majority of women stated that discussions of sexuality and aging as well as age-related biological changes were useful.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that SEPA-O is both acceptable and feasible for OHW that participated in the pilot study. Future studies should examine the efficacy of SEPA-O in a randomized controlled trial with OHW. SEPA-O should be disseminated to community-based organizations and adapted to other older populations at high risk of acquiring HIV.