HIV/STD Outreach, Prevention & Education (HOPE)

The aim of this community-based participatory research project is to test a technology enhanced evidence-based prevention program for sexually transmitted infections including HIV among 18-24 year olds.

Start date: 9/30/2009
End date: 9/29/2014

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More than 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur each year; almost half occur in teens and young adults. In Flint, Michigan, the rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) for African American residents aged 18-24 are among the highest in the state, but less than half of the people in this age group have been tested for STIs or HIV infection in the past three years. Behaviors such as not using a condom or having several partners may increase the risk of getting an STI. Reaching young adults with prevention education and testing may reduce the spread of STIs and create healthy sexual behaviors that are maintained throughout life.

The HOPE project has two components: home-based peer-led HIV/STI education parties and an online intervention website and social media campaign Social technology, such as interactive websites, may help to strengthen social ties, increase access to social resources, and enhance the exchange of information.

Researchers on this project are determining if engaging young adults in peer education and interactive social technology increases their knowledge of healthy sexuality, condom use, and STI/HIV testing. The main goal of this project is to determine whether a social networking component added to an evidence-based peer education program is more effective than the program alone.

One component of this project involves participants from Genesee and Saginaw counties in Michigan attending a HOPE “house party” led by peer educators trained in STI/HIV education. Each party teaches participants to learn STI prevention methods, assess their risk for getting STI, develop a plan to reduce their risk, and improve their communication skills with partners.

In Genesee County, the HOPE party intervention includes a social technology component developed by the researchers that provides blogs, a forum, sexual health videos, and links to other social networking sites. Researchers at the School of Information are specifically working on the implementation and evaluation of the technology component of the intervention.

Marc Zimmerman at the U-M School of Public Health is the Principal Investigator for the Prevention Research Center of Michigan, the central grant that this project is a component of. For more information, please visit the project’s website.


Prevention Research Center of Michigan—HOPE Project, Center for Disease Control and Prevention: $4,799,984


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mission is to collaborate to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health—through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats.