The New Mexico Peer Education Project: Filling a Critical Gap in HCV Prison Education
INTRODUCTION: Hepatitis C (HCV) is an epidemic in the incarcerated population in the United States. In New Mexico, more than 40% of people entering the prison systems test positive for HCV antibodies. Project ECHO's New Mexico Peer Education Project (NMPEP) was developed to educate prisoners about HCV and impact the cycle of HCV transmission in the prison system.
METHODS: Evaluation of NMPEP included multiple methods. Surveys focused on the short-term impact of training. Focus groups and post-release interviews were conducted to assess the intermediate impact of training on peer educators.
RESULTS: Significant changes were observed in knowledge, attitudes, behavioral intention and self-efficacy. The program had a powerful positive impact on peer educators giving them a unique skill set, a sense of agency and a passion to help others.
CONCLUSIONS: Prison peer educators can learn to effectively teach HCV prevention and harm reduction strategies and disease specific information to their peers.
Thornton K, Sedillo ML, Kalishman S, Page K, Arora S. The New Mexico Peer Education Project: Filling a Critical Gap in HCV Prison Education. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2018;29(4):1544-1557. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2018.0111. PMID: 30449762.