The POL community-level intervention involves identifying, enlisting, and training key opinion leaders to encourage safer sexual norms and behaviors within their social networks through risk-reduction conversations. POL is a HIV prevention intervention that systematically identifies, recruits, trains, and engages the popular opinion leaders (POLs) of a population to serve as behavior change endorsers.
The target population of POL spans and can be used with various at-risk populations in a variety of venues. The POL intervention is directed to an identifiable target population in a well-defined community. POL has been tested on an international level with African-American women, gay males and other at risk populations.
The target population for this particular POL model is African-Americans ages 18-24 on the campus of Southern University and in the Scotlandville community.
The POL theory is based on the social diffusion theory. The theory explains that behavior change in a population can be initiated and will then diffuse to others if enough opinion leaders within the population are known to adopt, endorse, and support the behavior. For POL, the opinion leaders shape changes in safer-sex norms to make it easier for others to start and maintain risk-reduction behavior changes.