A community- based approach to HIV prevention: Engaging mayan young adults in rural Guatemala

Victoria Orrego Dunleavy, Jasmine R. Phillips, Elena V. Chudnovskaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background. Guatemala has an accelerating HIV rate, where prevalence is three times higher among indigenous than nonindigenous people. Vulnerability is exacerbated by high poverty, low literacy, and poor access to prevention messaging, testing, and treatment options. This study develops a community- engaged HIV prevention campaign plan for the underserved Mayan town Santiago Atitlán. Guided by the community- based participatory research approach and the Health Belief Model, we identify barriers to and facilitators of HIV testing and condom use. Methods. Formative data were collected from 50 Mayan heterosexual adults (18- 25 years old) and community informants using in-depth interviews and a focus group. Results. Data identified high susceptibility and severity, low rates of condom use, high rates of stigma and low testing rates. Discussion. This research informs the development of a theoretically driven and culturally specific intervention that prioritizes an indigenous population. We highlight how collaboration with community partners enhances positive health promotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1023
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Community-based participatory research
  • HIV prevention
  • Mayan health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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