Leveraging social networks of Black women in beauty salons to improve uptake of pre-exposure prophylaxis
Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess social networks among Black women and beauty salons to see whether these could be leveraged to increase the awareness, knowledge and uptake of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in this population. Design: Qualitative descriptive design. Setting: Beauty salons in counties in North Carolina, USA, with high rates of HIV among the local Black population. Method: A total of 13 focus groups were conducted: 6 with stylists and 7 with Black women customers. In addition, six individual interviews were conducted with salon owners. Structured focus group questions were used to explore participants’ perspectives on the functions and characteristics of the social networks in salons and among women customers and how these might inform a PrEP intervention. Results: Results across all subgroups indicated social networks are pre-formed, developed and nurtured in a beauty salon setting. In addition, there is a positive influence of social networks on information sharing, specifically with respect to health-related topics. Variations in the results suggest salon settings differ and interventions within these settings should be tailored to specific salon’s characteristics. Conclusion: Black women are disparately affected by HIV, having the highest incidence rates among all women in the USA. PrEP is an effective HIV prevention strategy, yet there is low uptake among Black women due to lack of awareness and knowledge of PrEP, HIV- and PrEP-related stigma, and medical mistrust. Social networks are a powerful source of influence on health behaviour. Findings from this study suggest a social network–based PrEP intervention in a salon setting may be promising and has the potential to extend the reach beyond its initial participants.
Randolph, SD; Johnson, R; Meyers, D; Washington, D; Saint-Hillaire, L
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