iCuídate! means "take care of yourself." It is the theme of this culturally-based program offered by Jackson County Public Health that is designed to reduce HIV sexual risk in Latino youth. Today, all teens, including Latinos, face many health risks related to sexual behavior, such as unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and AIDS.
iCuídate! helps Latino youth develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to reduce their risk for HIV and other sexual health risk. The program emphasizes risk reductions strategies such as sexual abstinence and correct condom use through activities that allow youth to:
- Acquire correct and reliable information about risk and disease
- Develop attitudes that support safe decision-making
- Build skills to be able to abstain from sex and use condoms correctly
- Reinforce confidence in their ability to practice safer sex
In Oregon, iCuídate! does include a comprehensive contraceptive learning session in addition to the program's emphasis on risk reduction strategies such as sexual abstinence and correct condom use.
Who is it for?
Spanish and non-Spanish speaking Latino youth who are between 13-18 years. This program has been proven to be equally effective with boys and girls.
How is iCuídate! Implemented?
- Seven 1-hour modules delivered over 2 or more days
- Sessions delivered to small groups of 6 to 10 youth
- HIV/AIDS knowledge, condom use negotiation, refusal of sex, and correct condom use skills
- Interactive games, group, discussions, role-plays, videos, music, and mini-lectures
How Effective is iCuídate!?
iCuídate! was tested with Latino youth in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Monterrey, Mexico. Youth in the iCuídate! program in Philadelphia reporting having significantly fewer incidents of sexual intercourse, fewer sex partners, fewer days of unprotected intercourse and an increase in consistent condom use.
All effects continued 12 months after the program ended. Success with iCuídate! in the U.S. and Mexico provides evidence of the acceptability of the program by Latino parents and effectiveness of the program for boys and girls, and English and Spanish-speaking youth.