The impact of HIV on Native communities has not gone unnoticed. American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) have a 30 percent higher rate of AIDS and HIV infection than the white population. Despite this impact, HIV has not dampened the rich culture of Native communities. Evonne Bennett-Barnes took a moment to discuss two videos featuring voices from the community that were created to target topics of HIV testing and the role the provider experience plays in HIV care and treatment.
OMH: How does this particular medium impact awareness around HIV?
Evonne Bennett-Barnes: The video titled "Protect Yourself and Those You Love – Get Tested for HIV" will start being promoted via the GoodHealth TV network. GoodHealthTV® is a subscription-based health education network that reflects individual communities. GoodHealthTV® programming is delivered from a communications center to televisions placed in hospitals, clinics, schools or community centers through a high speed internet connection. The video will be shown twice a day to maximize viewership and increase awareness about the message to get tested. Since the audience is captive, and most waiting room wait times are longer than 30 minutes, the audience has a chance to hear the messages at least once.
The video titled "Positive Encounters" was created for clinical providers only. The video shows footage and interviews with several community members talking about their experiences with providers. The provider experience directly impacts care and retention to care. Therefore, the video will be shown to proceed various trainings at Indian Health Service in regard to clinical trainings.
OMH: What feedback have you gotten about these videos? What impression have they created in the community?
Evonne: We've received wonderful feedback thus far about both videos. The videos are both very new and we hope that anyone that wishes to view and show the videos has a chance to download or get a copy sent to them so that they can show them in the waiting room and to staff. The impression is that the videos are important tools for providers, hospitals and others to utilize to help get the message out about HIV testing. The overall impact is to help de-stigmatize HIV and HIV testing. Both videos are going to be available for download via Indian Health Service's web site and ordered via Indian Health Service.
OMH: What is the impact of seeing people from the community in the video?
Evonne: The impact of seeing people from the community, in particular, Native people is that it hits closer to home and is more familiar when you know someone or if someone that looks like you has an important message to tell. The importance is that you get to hear stories of other Native people telling their own experiences and discuss how and why they feel that testing is important.
Who is the target audience and what are the important messages for each of the videos? The video about HIV testing is for everyone. It relays the message that HIV testing should be part of routine care, and that you shouldn't feel bad or scared for taking the test. It also discusses how testing takes place and what happens. Oftentimes, people are afraid to get tested or even ask for a test, not just for fear of testing, but also for fear of being stigmatized in the community for getting the test. The video normalizes HIV testing and discusses confidentiality.
The positive encounters video is for providers, clinicians, hospital staff and anyone that comes into contact with patients. It is important for providers to be aware of their own behaviors and ideas toward HIV positive and LGBT people. Often times, these populations are the most stigmatized and experience negative treatment. Indian Health Service is doing a great job in starting more training for providers and addressing provider behaviors and LGBT education and appropriateness.