Into the Nightclubs: Peers as Educators

The Kansas City Free Health Clinic program, Business Owners as HIV Prevention Advocates, recruits bartenders, bouncers and waitresses in nightclubs where vulnerable populations assemble to serve as HIV peer educators.  Among the first business owners to come on board was the owner of one of the most popular African-American clubs in the metropolitan area.  The club had been identified as a priority location because of the large number of African-American women in the clientele.

The first challenge was to help the club owners become aware of the need for HIV prevention services in his club.  When clinic staff members met with him, the owner was so moved that he disclosed that his own son had died of AIDS years earlier – something he said he had not openly talked about to anyone before.  Clinic staff helped the owner build on his personal experience with HIV and AIDS to play a role in getting the word out about HIV and AIDS in the community and to bring awareness of its impact to his clientele.  Today, his nightclub is one of the biggest, most active prevention sites in the program.

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