Reducing HIV and AIDS through prevention (RHAP): A theoretically based approach for teaching HIV prevention to adolescents through an exploration of popular music
Using popular culture to engage students in discussions of HIV prevention is a nontraditional approach that may complement current prevention efforts and enhance the ability to reach youth who are at high risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Hip-hop or rap music is the dominant genre of music among adolescents, especially Black and Latino youth who are disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS. This paper describes the rationale and development of the Reducing HIV and AIDS through Prevention (RHAP) program, a school-based program that uses hip-hop/rap music as a vehicle for raising awareness among adolescents about HIV/AIDS. Constructs from the Social Cognitive Theory and the Sexual Script Theory were used in developing the program. It was piloted and evaluated among 26 middle school students in East Harlem, New York. The lessons learned from a formative evaluation of the program and the implications for developing other programs targeting public health problems are discussed. The RHAP program challenges the traditional pedagogue-student paradigm and provides an alternative approach to teaching about HIV prevention and awareness.