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NIAID HIV Vaccine Research Education Initiative (NHVREI) Communications Campaign Evaluation

Client

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/National Institutes of Health (NIAID/NIH)

Challenge

Developing a safe and effective vaccine that protects against HIV infection is one of NIAID’s highest priorities. To find a vaccine that works for all populations requires participation of tens of thousands of volunteers in clinical trials. Participation of all segments of the population in these trials is essential, particularly those most affected by the epidemic—blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, men who have sex with men (MSM), and women and youth. Therefore, NIAID established the NHVREI Program and awarded a five-year contract to FHI 360 to implement NHVREI and contracted with NOVA to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the Initiative’s implementation (process evaluation) and impact (outcome evaluation). The NHVREI intervention model was based on the premise that behavior change in a community can be initiated and then will diffuse to others if key influencers (KIs) within the community visibly endorse and adopt attitudes and behaviors supportive of HIV vaccine research. NHVREI connected with communities highly impacted by HIV/AIDS through two primary mechanisms: partnerships and broad message dissemination. Local and national organizations were funded for training and disseminating information about HIV vaccine research. Broad message dissemination occurred via conference presentations and attendance, distribution of printed materials, Internet presence, and other media outreach. NOVA’s challenge was to evaluate this complex national education and outreach initiative at both the community and individual levels.

NOVA Approach

The purpose of NOVA’s evaluation of the NHVREI program was to describe implementation of the Initiative, investigate its impact, and provide guidance for future vaccine education programs. The process evaluation sought to address: How was NHVREI implemented? The outcome evaluation sought to address: What were NHVREI’s effects? Exploratory analyses sought to answer the question: What should be addressed in future vaccine educational initiatives addressing HIV prevention research in communities highly impacted by HIV/AIDS? The evaluation employed a mixed-method approach of qualitative and quantitative data collection measures to assess NHVREI. Data collected included stakeholder interviews, partner outreach measures, media outreach measures, surveys with key influencers, and a national population-based survey of targeted audiences.

Results

NOVA developed and conducted a mixed-methods evaluation of NHVREI that included:

  • Formative research, including stakeholder interviews to obtain feedback on Initiative program, policies, and procedures
  • Process evaluation of Initiative activities, including media outreach and partnership activities
  • Outcome evaluation, through a web-based survey, focused on beliefs and behaviors of key influencers associated with NHVREI outreach activities compared with those of key influencers with no known association with NHVREI outreach activities
  • A national survey to assess knowledge, attitudes, and awareness of HIV vaccine and other HIV/AIDS preventive efforts to inform future NIAID efforts.