Despite an increase in HIV infections among young men who have sex with men (YMSM), only a minority participate in formal HIV prevention efforts. Dr. Ian Holloway (then a graduate student) teamed up with UCLA CBAM and others to find out why. A sample of YMSM was recruited on the streets of West Hollywood. Potential participants were given a brief screening interview to determine eligibility. If found eligible for the study, participants were asked a series of questions to determine demographics, perceived HIV risk, and history of HIV prevention efforts such as getting tested.
Results of the study were published in the November 2012 issue Journal of Primary Prevention. They showed that those who did participate in HIV prevention programs were more likely to have been tested for HIV in the past 6 months compared to those who had not. The most frequently mentioned barriers to participation in such a program were being too busy to attend, not perceiving themselves to be at risk for HIV infection, and believing that they already knew everything they needed to know about HIV transmission.
Those sampled suggested that future interventions should use technology (e.g., the Internet, mobile devices), engage their social networks, and highlight HIV prevention as a means for community connection.
To learn more and to find links to the full article referenced above, click here.
Holloway IW, Cederbaum JA, Ajayi A, Shoptaw S. Where are the Young Men in HIV Prevention Efforts? Comments on HIV Prevention Programs and Research from Young Men Who Have Sex with Men in Los Angeles County. Journal of Primary Prevention. 2012 Nov 7. Epub ahead of print. PMCID: PMC in progress.