Community Approaches to Reducing  Sexually Transmitted Infections

Community Needs Assessment Overview

Young people, Black/African-American, and LGBTQ+ populations are at highest risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Buffalo, NY. CAI recruited and convened a Community Advisory Board (CAB) with nine African-American straight and LGBTQ+ identifying adolescents, ages 18-24, to utilize a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to identify community-driven solutions that address social determinants of health (SDH) in their community.

The Process

The CAB implemented this community needs assessment (CNA) from February-May 2018.

CAI and Via Evaluation provided training and support to build the CAB’s skills and self-efficacy to conduct the CNA. Trainings covered:

  • CBPR methods
    o Community Café facilitation
    o Community mapping
    o Focus groups
    o Videography sessions
    o Interviews
  • The socio-ecological model
  • Research ethics and skills, such as using open-ended questions and explaining consent to participants.

The CAB developed research questions and planned and collected data. The questions included in the CNA were:

  • What is causing high STI rates in our community?
  • What are the sexual health stigma in our community?
  • What does the community know about STIs?

The CAB enjoyed the experience, and many stated that implementing the CNA was one of the most memorable and important project experiences during the first year of the project.

The Results

Through the CNA, the CAB reached 42 individuals (52% were young people):

  • students
  • parents
  • policy-makers
  • healthcare providers

And implemented 13 activities:

  • 1 community café
  • 2 community-mapping sessions
  • 2 focus groups
  • 2 videography sessions
  • 6 interviews

Key findings revealed gaps in STI awareness and knowledge in the community: inconsistent information; lack of sexual health champions; feelings of being disconnected to healthcare due to limited access, misinformation, and stigma.

Click here to see a visual breakdown of the CNA results.