Sexual Health

SIROW offers multiple versions of our research-informed sexual and relationship health curriculum-based, multicomponent intervention tailored to different specific populations.

Our researchers have partnered with numerous community-supportive entities to provide this tailored intervention to numerous populations who historically have been underserved or are at increased risk for HIV, sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), viral hepatitis, and dating/relationship abuse. These populations include, for example, youth, women, individuals who identify as LGBTQ+, and people who have substance use issues.

Current Projects


BWell  Team

Bridges to Wellness is an infrastructure and capacity-building project to deliver and sustain prevention services to reduce the onset of substance abuse (SA), HIV, and Viral Hepatitis (VH) among system-involved minority youth ages 13-17 in Tucson and Sells, Arizona. B-Well is a collaboration between SIROW, Intermountain Centers for Human Development, the Pima County Health Department, and the Pima County Community Prevention Coalition. Four project goals include:

  1. completion of a needs assessment and strategic plan;
  2. mobilization and capacity building to address identified prevention needs;
  3. implementation of prevention strategies and programs; and
  4. evaluation of program processes and outcomes to assess performance and project impact on behavioral health disparities.

The Intermountain infrastructure/capacity-building component includes: a Train-the-Trainer model to train youth professionals to deliver prevention services; developing policies for successful implementation; integrating Intermountain staff into B-Well service delivery; and embedding B-Well project services into existing Intermountain services. Community infrastructure development and capacity-building includes collaborating and coordinating with the Community Prevention Coalition as key stakeholders and working to increase protective factors in the community through direct and indirect environmental prevention, outreach activities, and social marketing. The prevention component for youth will utilize a Cognitive Behavioral and Motivational Interviewing approach, combining small group evidence-based curricula; individual prevention planning; SA screening; HIV and VH counseling and testing; and active linkages to additional services.

Contact: Josephine Korchmaros,

SIROW project team: Josephine Korchmaros, Monica Davis, Tamara Sargus, Fedora Preston-Haynes

Project partners: Intermountain Centers for Human Development, Pima County Health Department, Pima County Community Prevention Coalition

Location: SIROW Central, 3776 N. 1st Ave., STE. 102, Tucson, AZ 85719

Bridging two social justice issues, the Sex University (Sex U) Pilot Study will use sexuality education as an innovative strategy for preventing sexual violence. Aimed at first year students who are involved in Greek organizations, the project will adapt a comprehensive sexuality education program using sexual ethics and rights-based approaches. Sex U will be packaged into an institute where participants will learn, build skills, discuss, reflect, and have fun. The efficacy of Sex U for preventing sexual violence will be tested using an experimental design. Participants who engage in the program are expected to demonstrate increased knowledge of relationship “red flags”; increased confidence negotiating consent and asserting personal boundaries; improved sexual communication skills; and the ability to articulate human rights as a motive for consent. Given positive outcomes, the pilot study’s final objective will involve exploring options for scaling up Sex U to broader adoption by the Greek community and other University entities.

Contact: Courtney Waters,

SIROW project team: Courtney Waters, Fedora Preston-Haynes

Location: SIROW Silverlake Park, 1037 E. 34th St, Tucson, AZ 85713

Spectrum+ is a five-year collaboration between SIROW, SAAF, and El Rio Health with funding by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The purpose of Spectrum+ is to provide culturally-driven comprehensive sexuality education, HIV and HCV testing and counseling, substance use and co-occurring disorder screening and treatment, HIV prevention navigation services, and HIV care to
LGBTQ+ Black, Brown, and Indigenous youth and young adults and their peers ages 12-24 in Pima and Maricopa Counties.


Contact: Courtney Waters,
SIROW project team: Claudia Powell, Corrie Brinley, Courtney Waters, Jackson Wray,
Zach Simmons
Project partners: Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF), El Rio Health
Location (campus, central, or silverlake park): SIROW Silverlake Park, 1037 E. 34th St.,
Tucson, AZ 85713

Completed Projects

Completed projects are listed in alphabetical order.

Sponsor: NIDA

Contact: Sally Stevens,

This project developed and field-tested a feminist oriented intervention program for women at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS

Copasa Links

Contact: Alison Greene,

SIROW collaborated with Arizona’s Children Association (AzCA) to implement a gender component into AzCA’s Cornerstone Program. Cornerstone is an adolescent (ages 12-17) outpatient substance abuse treatment program. Each week SIROW personnel facilitated two separate groups in which youth participants gather to learn about gender issues as they pertain to drugs, crime, sexuality, and relationships. Gender issues were discussed from social, cultural, and historical perspectives. Each session included interactive, didactic, and reflective education strategies. The curriculum was designed so that youth could enter into the gender-specific component at any time. That is, each curriculum session was able to stand on its own without information from a previous session. An evaluation was conducted to look at issues of femininity/masculinity and perception changes. Data collection time periods consisted of a pre (prior to entering the gender component) and a post (upon completion of the gender component) assessment. The Cornerstone Project was funded by the Community Partnership of Southern Arizona through AzCA.

Contact: Claudia Powell,

The Eon Project, a collaboration of five agencies, was a substance abuse capacity expansion effort that offered culturally-specific substance abuse treatment, HIV/AIDS, and support services to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) youth of color and their multi-ethnic peers. SIROW was contracted to provide the evaluation component. The goals for Eon Project were to: 1) increase availability of culturally responsive substance abuse treatment and HIV prevention/intervention services for GLBT youth of color and their multi-ethic peers; 2) increase the number of GLBT youth of color and their multi-ethnic peers who access and utilize substance abuse prevention/intervention services; 3) expand and support an integrated support system for GLBT youth of color and their multi-ethnic peers; 4) support internal asset development of GLBT youth of color; and 5) increase the number of GLBT youth of color who access HIV/AIDS prevention/care services, including HIV anti-body counseling and testing. Eon Project was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration - Center for Substance Abuse Treatment through the Pima County Health Department.

Eon Links

Contact: Jo Korchmaros,

Funded by Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona; July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015

The Film and Toolkit Project is a sexual health education and youth empowerment initiative. The purpose of the project is to ameliorate fear and misinformation around sexual health services and improve youths’ confidence and self-efficacy to take care of their sexual health. Project goals include:

  1. empowering high school girls through leadership, sexuality education, and service learning;
  2. expanding SIROW’s successful Health Education for Youth (HEY) curriculum through the development of a sexual health education film and toolkit; and
  3. increasing youth’s sexual health literacy and access to sexual health services through widespread dissemination of the film and toolkit in schools, clinics, local organizations, and online.

The project will directly impact five local high school girls who will be the creators of the sexual health film. The project will also directly and indirectly impact youth living in southern Arizona, and to a lesser extent youth in settings beyond Arizona, through pilot testing and dissemination. Collaborating partners on the Sexual Health Film & Educational Toolkit project include the Pima County Health Department Theresa Lee Clinic, a local feminist videographer, and a female University of Arizona undergraduate mentor.  

Woman’s HIV, STD, Hepatitis B and C, and Mental Health Drug Treatment Enhancement and Program Expansion Project

Contact: Rosi Andrade,

The University of Arizona's Southwest Institute for Research on Women in collaboration with The Haven’s Mother and Child residential drug treatment program for women, pregnant women, and women with children; the Pima County Health Department; and Primavera Foundation’s four homeless women’s programs: 1) Casa Paloma's Drop-in Hospitality; 2) Casa Paloma Transitional Housing; 3) Five Points Transitional Housing; and 4) Relief & Referral, implemented HerStory to Health, a comprehensive, gender specific, and culturally competent HIV, STD, and Hepatitis B and C prevention and mental health enhancement project targeting Latinas and African American women enrolled in Primavera’s four programs and The Haven, and through a program expansion based on outreach to enroll homeless women in Primavera programs, all located in Pima County (Tucson), Arizona.

HerStory to Health Links

Contact: Sally Stevens,

SIROW conducted the evaluation component of this multi-agency treatment expansion project. This project provided expanded services in the area HIV, STD, Hepatitis, and TB to adolescents enrolled in drug treatment. The evaluation include conducting baseline, 6 and 12-month follow up assessments to examine changes in knowledge and behaviors with regard to the expanded activities. There were a total of 518 youth enrolled in the evaluation component of the study, with 92% of the youth completing the 6 month follow-up assessment and 88% completing the 12 month follow-up assessment. This project was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration - Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

Contact: Sally Stevens,

This project was a collaboration of SIROW with the Center for Excellence in Women’s Health (WCoE; a center within the College of Medicine); the Women’s Studies Advisory Council (WOSAC; an advisory council serving the Department of Women’s Studies); and community health centers and schools. This project included hosting three 2-hour forums (one academic; two community-based) on the topic of human papillomavirus (HPV) and the HPV vaccine. The academic forum encompassed a scholarly debate on issues surrounding HPV and the vaccine and included panel presentations, followed by audience questions/interaction/debate, and ending with a discussion on research needs and potential collaboration. The community-based forums (Spanish and English) hosted speakers to give a brief overview of on human anatomy and HPV, followed by information on the HPV vaccines including pros and cons of vaccination and practical details. This was followed by breakout sessions (students separate from parent/guardians), and then an all-participant session in which representatives from the breakout groups provided a summary of their discussions. Consensus building completed the forum with participants detailing their community’s needs with regard to HPV prevention and vaccination, health disparities, and other health concerns – informing on needed and next action-research, education and outreach projects on Adolescent Treatment Effectiveness. This project was funded by the UA–College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Contact: Rosi Andrade,

Funded by the Research Program on Migration and Health (PIMSA)

Mujer Saludable on the US-Mexico Border is a binational research project led by SIROW and and El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF) to examine and address reproductive health needs and access to reproductive health care in the borderlands. Together, the partners use community-based participatory research methods to collect qualitative data to examine reproductive health needs and access to reproductive health care among women living in a low-resource community in Nogales, Son, MX. The partners utilize this data and the promotora (i.e., community health worker) model to expand and adapt SIROW-UA’s sexual health curriculum Mujer Saludable to reflect the specific needs of the community. SIROW and COLEF will pilot test the adapted Mujer Saludable-Promotora curriculum with 10 mothers and their adolescent daughters to assess the curriculum for acceptability and its potential to impact teen pregnancy and increase access to reproductive care across the lifespan. The partners utilize research findings to inform health policy at the local, state, national, and international levels.

Contact: Rosi Andrade,

In collaboration with three residential drug treatment programs for women, this five-year project developed, implemented and evaluated a culturally competent intervention for mostly economically disenfranchised Mexican American women who had extensive histories of drug use and risky drug and sex behaviors.

Mujer Sana Links

Contact: Rosi Andrade,

Mujer Sana, Mujer Saludable (Healthy Women) translated an innovative HIV/STD, female-centered health curriculum from English to Spanish; and 2) provided this curriculum to 16 to 20 primarily Spanish speaking women, enrolling them in one of two cohorts. Each cohort participated in five 2-hour group sessions that:

  1. increased knowledge of anatomy,
  2. increased knowledge of HIV,
  3. increased knowledge of STDs,
  4. increased knowledge of TB and Hepatitis B and C,
  5. increased understanding of the link between drug use, sexual risk behavior, and HIV and other infectious diseases,
  6. increased understanding of how a woman’s life context (i.e., culture, gender roles, peer and significant other relationships) impacts HIV and other health-related risk behaviors,
  7. increased ability to negotiate safe sex, 
  8. increased the number of women who receive HIV, STD, TB, and Hepatitis B and C testing/treatment/immunizations by offering referrals for health testing, and
  9. provided program evaluation (i.e., attendance compliance, baseline interview, pre/post tests, and participant satisfaction and feedback).  

Mujer Sana, Mujer Saludable was funded by The Stocker Foundation and a UA Women’s Studies Department/SIROW fellowship award.

Contact: Sally Stevens,

DAP was an action-research project that provided HIV/STD and sexual health education and disease testing and treatment for adolescents in residential substance abuse treatment. Project DAP was a collaboration between SIROW, the Arizona Children’s Association (AzCA), and the Pima County Health Department (PCHD). 

Project DAP Links

Contact: Claudia Powell,

The primary goal of Project Own Yourself was to prevent and reduce substance use and high-risk behaviors that lead to substance abuse and HIV infection, while increasing pro-social behaviors associated with improved health, community involvement, and personal well-being. The specific objectives of Project Own Yourself include:

  1. providing culturally responsive substance abuse education to African-American female adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18,
  2. encouraging substance abuse prevention by increasing refusal strategies, relationship management skills and community awareness, and
  3. increasing knowledge of HIV and AIDS transmission and prevention. 

While African-Americans make up a small percentage of the population in Tucson, they are overrepresented in prisons, in substance abuse treatment programs, and in the number of people infected with HIV/AIDS. Project Own Yourself planned to enroll a total of sixty African-American girls. The girls participated in four interactive, educational and empowerment sessions focused on substance use and HIV/AIDS, and topics that intersect with substance use and HIV/AIDS. These prevention sessions were culturally adapted to meet the specific needs of African American girls. Project Own Yourself was funded by the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, Unidas Grant.

Contacts: Alison Greene,; Monica Davis,

Educación de Salud Sexual was the SIROW HEY (Health Education for Youth) curriculum in Spanish. This comprehensive sexuality curriculum covered multiple topics to include defining sex and sexuality, pubescent changes, sexually transmitted infections, and safer sex protection methods, among others. Central themes covered throughout the intervention were self-esteem and self-efficacy, resisting peer pressure, and informed decision making. ProJoven was recently offered to youth in rural Guanajuato in collaboration with Resplandor International, a non-profit humanitarian organization spearheaded by Dr. Todd Fletcher from the University of Arizona’s College of Education.

ProJoven Links

The purpose of Spectrum is to provide HIV prevention and education services (including HIV and Hepatitis testing and counseling) and to expand and enhance substance use and co-occurring disorder screening, referral to treatment, and outreach and pretreatment services for LGBTQ+ identified youth and young adults (primarily ages 13-24) from elevated-risk multi-ethnic communities, primarily, Latino, African American and Native American. This project utilizes an existing collaboration including SIROW, the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF), and Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health (Devereux). The primary target population includes youth who might not be identified as having substance abuse and related behavioral health problems or receive needed interventions in culturally responsive ways. Spectrum will enhance and expand the continuum of services for participants. All participants will receive the either the SIROW Health Education for Youth (SIROW HEY) curriculum or the SIROW Sexual Health Education-Queer (SIROW SHE-Q), facilitated by staff from the SAAF, Devereux and SIROW.

Contact: Claudia Powell,

SIROW project team: Claudia Powell, Courtney Waters, Corrie Brinley, Monica Davis, Keith Bentele, Amy Lucero

Project partners: Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF), Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health

Location: SIROW Silverlake Park, 1037 E. 34th St, Tucson, AZ 85713

Contact: Claudia Powell,

Step Forward II was a collaboration between CODAC, SIROW, and Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF). Step Forward II provided outreach, substance abuse prevention and screening services, substance abuse outpatient treatment in conjunction with sexual health education services for youth ages 12 to 17 living in the Tucson, AZ community. It was a multi-faceted program that provided age-appropriate and interactive programming in a number of locations (charter and alternative schools, substance abuse treatment, juvenile probation and parole). The outpatient substance abuse treatment was provided by CODAC while the sexual health curriculum was facilitated by staff working for CODAC, SIROW, and SAAF. The health education component offered a number of interactive curriculum sessions along with HIV testing and counseling. Youth took part in one or all of program components, based on their level of need. The program evaluation included a baseline, discharge and 6-month follow-up assessment. SIROW was responsible for oversight of both sexual health curriculum program fidelity and project evaluation data analysis. Step Forward II is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration - Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

View a 2014 sexual health resource guide, Common Sexual Health Questions & Answers: A Guide for Youth and Families, developed by the Step Forward project.

View a 2014 poster representing SIROW-HEY Curriculum, Health Education for Youth.

Contact: Sally Stevens,

The purpose of the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) was to develop and deliver a curriculum that is culturally and gender appropriate for 270 adolescents who are at high risk for using substances and engaging in behaviors that could lead to HIV infection. Of those youth, 57% were female and 80% were Hispanic. In addition, YEP included an intervention process and outcome evaluations. Baseline and 6 and 12-month follow-up assessments were obtained to examine changes in behaviors of the 270 youth enrolled in YEP. This three-year project, with the Tucson Urban League, was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration - Center of Substance Abuse Prevention.