A Web-based HIV/STI Prevention Curriculum for Deaf High School Students

Period of Performance: 09/15/2015 - 05/31/2016


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Social Sciences Innovations Corporation
NEW YORK, NY 10021
Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The proposed Web-based ASL HIV/STI Prevention Curriculum for deaf adolescents will enable a reduction in HIV/STI risk in a vulnerable group by adapting an evidence-based HIV prevention intervention, key components of which are communication, negotiation, and decision making skills that are also applicable to other health and mental health areas. This proposal is responsive to the NIMH DAR 2014 SBIR Areas of Emphasis: develop innovative tools and training approaches designed to improve the quality and delivery of HIV prevention curricula by counselors, or educators and develop novel information technology tools designed to improve dissemination and implementation of evidence-based HIV/AIDS behavioral risk reduction interventions. To date, no evidence-based HIV prevention interventions have been adapted for the "blended" use of web-based delivery for any adolescent population. While HIV prevention efforts appear to be slowing the spread of HIV among targeted groups of adults in the US, it is of growing concern that adolescents ages 13-17 and young adult males ages 18-25 continue to be at high risk of contracting HIV. Because the proposed curriculum utilizes web-based, enhanced explanatory visuals and storytelling to communicate complex social situations and scientific concepts, its applicability extends to other hard-to-reach adolescent sub-populations such as other ethnic/minority groups and new immigrants. Currently, there is no HIV/STI curriculum available that meets the cultural and linguistic needs of deaf high school students. Deaf youth are at heightened HIV risk due to sexual risk behaviors, deaf cultural norms, inadequate school-based HIV prevention programs, and lack of access to HIV information. Deaf high school students have low levels of HIV knowledge and engage in high risk sexual risk behaviors. We propose to complete the adaptation of an evidenced- based HIV/STI prevention curriculum which will meet the needs deaf youth. An evidence-based HIV prevention curriculum, originally designed for a general hearing adolescent population will be adapted in two ways to: 1) make it culturally and linguistically appropriate for deaf youth and 2) put portions of the curriculum on the web in order to allow for "blended" classroom learning. These are innovative uses of technology which are being combined in a new way to enhance the effectiveness of HIV/STI prevention for adolescents. The proposed curriculum in ASL is designed to increase communication, and negotiation, and decision making skills, and to increase HIV/STI knowledge. Effectiveness will be evaluated in high schools for the deaf using a quasi-experimental design in which classes of students receiving the new curriculum will be evaluated against randomly assigned classes in a comparison group. The market for this product includes all high schools for deaf students and mainstream high school programs in the US as well as vocational, recreational, substance abuse, and rehabilitation programs which serve deaf youth.