Rikers Health Advocacy

Originally developed for use with incarcerated male adolescent drug users, this intensive, short-term intervention consists of four one-hour, small-group sessions designed to produce problem-solving skills for HIV/AIDS prevention among high-risk youth.

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This program, originally developed for use with incarcerated male adolescent drug users between 16 and 18 years of age, consists of four one-hour small group sessions focusing on health education issues, particularly HIV/AIDS. These are designed to be small group sessions with eight participants per same-sex group leader.

RHAP is supported by the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH)'s Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program as an EBI that is medically accurate, age-appropriate, and has proven through rigorous evaluation to prevent teen pregnancy and/or associated sexual risk behaviors. 


Two-week intervention with two one-hour group sessions each week for a total of four sessions.

Adapting techniques of Problem Solving Therapy, the facilitator guides eight-person groups in discussing the following topics:

  • general health
  • HIV and AIDS 
  • drug abuse and its consequences
  • sexual behavior 
  • health and AIDS-risk behaviors
  • strategies for seeking health and social services.

Active learning is emphasized, with opportunities for youths to define high-risk attitudes and behaviors, suggest alternative actions, and engage in role-play and rehearsal activities. The discussions provide opportunities for participants to define high-risk attitudes and behaviors, suggest alternative actions and complete challenging “thought teaser” exercises designed to help the teens reflect on the reasons why they engage in high-risk behaviors.


Following the intervention, program participants were more likely to use condoms during intercourse, compared to the control group.

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