Research Team: Marvelous Muchenje, Wangari Tharao, Mercy Gichuki, David Seekings and Lydia Makoroka
What is this research about?
The WILLOW (Women Involved in Life Learning from Other Women) intervention was developed in the US and has been shown to be a highly effective HIV prevention intervention for women living with HIV. Through interactive discussions within small groups of women, the intervention informs women how to identify and maintain supportive people in their social networks. The intervention enhances awareness of HIV transmission risk behaviors, discredits myths regarding HIV prevention for people living with HIV, teaches communication skills for negotiating safer sex, and reinforces the benefits of consistent condom use. WILLOW also teaches women how to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy relationships, discusses the impact of abusive partners on safer sex, and provides information about local shelters for women in abusive relationships.
The first Ontario pilot of the intervention is being conducted in Toronto at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands to assess its effectiveness among African Caribbean and Black women living with HIV. If shown to be effective in this context, the intervention could be scaled to other parts of the province.
This Willow project receives financial support from REACH 2.0 and in-kind staff support from the OHTN.