Effective HIV intervention, and its evaluation, requires close collaboration between community members and researchers. This article explores our experience as white, middle-class researchers in poor, inner city, multicultural neighborhoods. Research role demands put us at an automatic distance from our respondents, clients, and community membersources of valuable information for design and evaluation of interventions. Distance is further compounded by differences in culture, mutual stereotypes, and the history of the research enterprise in these and similar communities. Strategies for reducing distance include methods for undoing stereotypes, emphasizing research as a joint enterprise, stressing fairness, learning about the contexts within which the community functions, and assessing and addressing immediate community needs. The authors provide examples from their own experiences creating and maintaining collaborative HIV interventions and their evaluation. A discussion is included of the ways in which the researchers have been educated by the community to correct misperceptions and false expectations of what HIV work in the community would entail. The article concludes with a discussion of effective HIV prevention messages and their delivery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health