HIV Prevention for African American MSM Who Do Not Identify as Gay
Original Lay Abstract
(submitted with April 2004)
HIV directly or indirectly related to male-to-male sexual intercourse is the largest contributor to HIV infection among Blacks (CDC 2002), accounting for approximately half of all US AIDS cases diagnosed among Black men and a substantial but unknown portion of cases diagnosed among Black women in 2001 (CDC 2002). The Men of African American Legacy Empowering Self (MAALES) Project is an intervention, designed to reduce HIV risk-related behaviors among of non-gay identifying (NGI) African American men who have sex with men (MSM) in Los Angeles.
The study will be conducted in two phases: Phase 1 will obtain information about issues pertinent to sexual and drug risk-taking practices of NGI African American MSM gathered from focus groups with these men and with women who have had NGI African American MSM partners and from interviews with persons serving African American MSM. Phase 2 will involve initial pretesting of the MAALES risk-reduction program, which addresses the cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic and secrecy issues that may influence HIV risk among NGI African American MSM, and the comparison, general health promotion intervention with 20 participants. Following this pretest, 208 participants will be randomly assigned to one of the two conditions, to test the impact of the MAALES program. Both conditions will consist of 6 weekly 2-hour group sessions. Participants will be tested at baseline, immediately after the last intervention session, and at 3-month follow-up. Study goals are:
1) to gather information about cultural identity and sexual risk behaviors among NGI African American MSM that will guide the intervention,
2) to test whether NGI African American MSM in the risk-reduction condition report lower levels of sexual risk behaviors (i.e., increased condom use, decreased number of sexual partners and decreased sex while using drugs) than NGI African American MSM in the health promotion condition at post-intervention and 3-month follow-up,
3) to test the effectiveness of using the MAALES Project to promote testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs); and 4) to examine whether other factors such as age, socioeconomic status, sexual and drug history, and current psychological distress can alter the intervention’s effect. The fourth goal will help to tailor interventions to different subgroups of NGI African American MSM, if necessary.