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Culturally Focused HIV Prevention and Substance Abuse Treatment for Hispanic Women

Cervantes, Richard C. PhD*; Kappos, Barbara MSW; Dueñas, Norma MS*; Arellano, Delia MS

Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment: September 2003 - Volume 2 - Issue 3 - p 69-77
Original Articles

Objective The Women's Health Institute drug treatment and HIV prevention program was studied in a quasi-experimental assessment to determine its effectiveness in reducing drug use and preventing the transmission of HIV/AIDS among Hispanic women. The program focused on improving numerous aspects of the women's lives through a gender specific and culturally focused program.

Methods A total of 148 Hispanic, substance abusing mothers were provided with drug treatment services. Four instruments were administered at program entry, 6-month post-test, and 12-month follow-up. The instruments consisted of an evaluation interview, local instrument, a cross-site instrument, and the Government Performance Results Act measure.

Results Program results indicated positive changes in the areas of parenting, mental health, HIV/AIDS knowledge, and drug knowledge. Program participants also showed a significant decline in the mean past 30-day use of alcohol, alcohol to intoxication, and any illegal drug use. Risky sexual behavior associated with HIV/AIDS transmission failed to significantly decline over program period. The results are discussed in the context of developing culturally appropriate service models.

Conclusion Culturally focused substance abuse treatment and HIV prevention services for Hispanic mothers are effective in decreasing illegal substance use, but have a minimal impact in changing risky sexual behavior.

From *California State University, Long Beach, and Behavioral Assessment, Inc., Beverly Hills, California; and †Bienvenidos Children's Center, Inc., East Los Angeles, California.

Address reprint requests to Richard C. Cervantes, PhD, Behavioral Assessment, Inc., 291 S. La Cienega Blvd., Suite 308, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. E-mail:

Supported by a grant from the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, SAMHSA (# TI 99-004).

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.