Meet the UCLA HOPE Study Trainers


Left: Peer leaders for the UCLA HOPE Study (Left to Right: Nijeul Porter, Noah Kojima, Jaih Craddock). Right: Nijeul Porter discussing health-related stigma and HIV.

During training, what major “facts” and “fibs” about HIV will we cover?

We encounter several myths around HIV and AIDS on a daily basis. To make sure that our peer leaders are well informed to tackle these challenges, we will be going over topics related to HIV transmission, prevention, and treatment throughout the three training sessions. The peer leaders will frequently participate in interactive “Facts and Fibs” group activities that cover topics discussed in previous sessions, such as which methods can put an individual at risk for HIV (e.g., unprotected sex) and which are just myths (e.g., insect bites).

Which UCLA experts will I have an opportunity to meet during the training sessions? What are their backgrounds?

Our trainers are engaging speakers who are knowledgeable about medicine, public health, and community organizing. We invited a total of four dedicated trainers to work with our peer leaders: Noah Kojima, a UCLA medical student, Jaih Craddock, a PhD candidate in the school of Social Work at the University of Southern California, Nijeul Porter, an LGBT youth and community organizer and educator, and Adam Carl Cohen, a PhD in the UCLA Department of Public Health. Dr. Sean Young, Principal Investigator, will also be involved in facilitating the training sessions and welcoming the peer leaders.

What will we learn about HIV testing and talking about HIV tests with others?

We will discuss the basics of how HIV tests work and the types of HIV testing that are available. The trainers will also demo steps for using a confidential, at-home HIV testing kit that will be offered to all participants for free throughout the study. This will allow the peer leaders to their pass knowledge along to the participants effectively and answer any concerns. The peer leaders will also learn about situations that are conducive for talking to someone about getting tested and suggested methods on how to communicate with individuals about getting tested.

What will we learn about HIV prevention and talking about HIV prevention with others?

In order to discuss HIV prevention, we will first revisit how HIV is transmitted and then discuss recommended steps for reducing the risks, such as limiting the number of sex partners, correct and consistent condom use, getting tested and treated for STIs (sexually transmitted infections), and participating in risk-reduction programs. We will also dive into best practices for engaging participants on HIV topics in a private Facebook group through collaborative and interactive group exercises.

Will we learn about other STIs, or will the discussion be totally focused on HIV?

Sexually transmitted infections are associated with an increased risk of contracting and transmitting HIV. For the purpose of this study, our discussion will primarily focus on STIs in the context of HIV. However, the peer leaders may have additional questions on STI specific topics that we will be happy to answer.


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