China CPOL (Community Popular Opinion Leaders) Project

This 8-year study was part of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Collaborative HIV/Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention Trial in international settings, including China, India, Peru, Russia, and Zimbabwe. The trial was designed to identify, recruit, train, and engage community popular opinion leaders (C-POL) in a defined population to convey HIV risk reduction messages. The primary objective was to reduce HIV/STD incidence and risky sexual behaviors.
Intervention model: 

Community Popular Opinion Leader (CPOL) HIV prevention intervention

Research Methods: 

• Ethnographic studies to identify social networks
• Pre-baseline assessment for risk estimates
• 4,510 market workers from 40 food markets participated in the baseline
• Behavioral and biological assessments
• Longitudinal analyses with 12 and 24 month follow-ups

Local Significance: 

The project has provided an opportunity to communicate with policy makers at all administrative levels in China about HIV prevention and intervention strategies. The POL model was adapted by other intervention studies in China.

International Significance: 

This is the first test of the efficacy of a similar intervention in multiple international sites. China is the first of the five countries that has begun the baseline assessment and intervention activities. More than 15 peer-reviewed papers have been published.