Year 2 commenced with convening a community report back event. The 5 health topics were presented back to the community to gain feedback and we asked attendees to prioritized the three health topics most important for Tulumbe! to address first. Through a voting process, attendees selected – (1) reducing HIV stigma in the community, (2) increasing safer sex and testing among African immigrant youth, and (3) improving family communication around sexual health.
We continued to gain feedback on the health topics and research questions by presenting at the Massachusetts Integrated Prevention and Planning Council (MIPPC), which is a group of consumers, HIV providers and staff from the Office of HIV/AIDS that provide guidance on HIV prevention and care program and policy initiatives. In addition, to adding several research questions, the discussion with MIPPC members yielded another health topic – health literacy.
Increase health literacy: Health literacy is the degree to which an individual can obtain, process, understand, and communicate about health-related information needed to make informed health decisions.” Health providers and patients experience barriers in communicating effectively. This impacts providers’ understanding patients’ needs and patients accessing comprehensive care.
We also distributed a survey to 50 African immigrants. The goal of the survey was to have community members prioritize research questions in each of the 6 health topics. 42 community members participated in the survey. Some of the most popular research questions included, ‘What does disclosure look like for African immigrants living with HIV,’ ‘How are African immigrant youth in the US learning about sexual health,’ and ‘How is sexual health defined, understood and experienced within African cultural beliefs and understandings?’