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Implementation Setting: 
After school program or community-based organization
Intervention Length: 
Fewer than 10 sessions
Age Group: 
Race / Ethnicity: 
African American
Outcomes Affected: 
Contraceptive use and consistencyPregnancy or birth
Study Rating: 

Program Summary

SiHLE - Sisters, Informing, Healing, Living, Empowering - is a peer-led, group-level, social-skills training intervention designed to reduce sexual risk behaviors among African-American female teenagers who are at high risk of HIV. In addition to HIV prevention, the program addresses relationships, dating, and sexual health within the specific context of the female African-American teenage experience. The program draws upon both cultural and gender pride to give participants the skills and motivations to avoid HIV and other STDs.

Read more the full Implementation Report, which includes:

  • Program Overview
  • Program Components
  • Implementation Requirements and Guidance
  • Implementation Readiness Assessment

Interview with the Program Developer

See the materials below to hear from the program developer.

SiHLE webinar slides

Slides, Audio, Transcript

Advice from the Field

OAH has compiled lessons learned and advice related to implementation and cost implications of SiHLE from TPP grantees. The information below is intended to provide useful tips and overall feedback that organizations should consider when choosing and implementing SiHLE.

Program Components

  • Consider modifying the session length. For example, the SiHLE curriculum consists of four 4-hour sessions, which may make it difficult for youth who have other commitments. Keep in mind modifying the session length is considered a major adaptation and would require approval from the distributor/developer and OAH.
  • Use social media to help recruit participants. These accounts can deliver carefully timed posts that can further engage participants.
  • Consider removing formal breaks from the curriculum. This can allow for more content to be delivered in shorter periods of time. Keep in mind this adaptation would require approval from the developer/distributor and OAH.
  • Consider adding activities or lesson reviews related to puberty and anatomy, especially if many of the youth lack this knowledge. This helps establish a framework for participants before SiHLE’s condom demonstration activities.

Staffing and Professional Development

  • Consider hiring staff that are familiar with the target population and community. These individuals may be better able to relate to participant’s experiences, which can help with developing rapport more readily with program participants.
  • Provide staff with training on how to recruit high-risk, transient populations. SiHLE is intended for African American female teenagers at high risk of contracting HIV; specialized training can improve recruitment.
  • Consider providing ongoing additional training on social media management, sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing and prevention, recruitment and retention, working with LGBTQ populations, and rapport-building. These topics may not be adequately covered in SiHLE training materials and can help enrich program delivery.

Stakeholder and Parent Buy-in

  • Emphasize the core components of SiHLE to prospective partners, and why this program is needed for this particular population. Because SiHLE targets a very select group of youth, some potential partners may initially view it as exclusionary.


  • Make sure to budget resources to pay for program space, if necessary, as well as pay for technology costs needed in those spaces (e.g., social media applications, databases).
  • Consider purchasing SiHLE handbooks in bulk annually to reduce costs.
  • Budget adequately for recruitment. Because some potential partners may perceive the program as exclusionary due to the very specific target group, you may need to dedicate significant time and resources to grassroots recruitment activities.

Read the research on the SiHLE program on ASPE's website.

Content created by the
Office of Adolescent Health
Content last reviewed on
Friday, December 11, 2015