Building Blocks for Peer Success: Lessons Learned from a Train-the-Trainer Program

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Abstract

The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) calls for a reduction in health disparities, a reduction in new HIV infections, and improved retention in HIV care and treatment. It acknowledges that HIV-positive peers can play an important role in supporting these aims. However, peer training must be comprehensive enough to equip peers with the knowledge and skills needed for this work. This article describes the development of a national train the trainer (TTT) model for HIV peer educators, and the results of its implementation and replication. A mixed methods evaluation identified who was trained locally as a result of TTT implementation, what aspects of the TTT were most useful to trainers in implementing local training sessions, and areas for improvement. Over the course of 1 year, 91 individuals were trained at 1 of 6 TTT sessions. These individuals then conducted 26 local training sessions for 272 peers. Factors that facilitated local replication training included the teach-back/feedback model, faculty modeling of facilitation styles, financial support for training logistics, and faculty support in designing and implementing the training. The model could be improved by providing instruction on how to incorporate peers as part of the training team. TTT programs that are easily replicable in the community will be an important asset in developing a peer workforce that can help implement the National AIDS Strategy.

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