HIV Intervention for Black YMSM in the House Ball Community


Funder: NIH – National Institute of Health
Sr. Principal Investigator: Sybil G. Hosek, PhD/ Clinical Psychology at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, IL

Dr. Hosek is a clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County. Dr. Hosek holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Community Psychology. Her research has focused on the psychological needs of minority adolescents and young adults living with HIV and the impact of these needs on their risk practices, health related and health seeking behavior (e.g. adherence). As a complement to her research activities, Dr. Hosek has been providing individual and group psychotherapy to individuals living with HIV during the past ten years. Dr. Hosek has continued her commitment to HIV research in her role as co-chair of the Behavioral Leadership Group of the Adolescent Trials Network (ATN) and as Principal Investigator of four ATN protocols.
Project Summary:

Project Summary:

Recent HIV surveillance data show that men who have sex with men (MSM) are the only risk group in which the number of new infections rose annually from 2001-2006. Among persons aged 13–24, Blacks are disproportionately affected by HIV infection accounting for 55% of all HIV infections reported. These racial disparities among MSM persist in the Chicago area, with the HIV prevalence rate among Black MSM (30.1%) more than twice that of White (11.3%) and Hispanic MSM (12.0%). The racial disparity in HIV prevalence rate is even more striking among youth ages 18-24, with 24.2% among Black YMSM compared to 2.3% for White YMSM and 6.5% for Hispanic YMSM.   Despite the urgent need, there are no theoretically based, culturally appropriate behavioral interventions to reduce the risk of sexual acquisition or transmission of HIV among BYMSM. Furthermore, there are no HIV prevention interventions specifically targeting the House Ball community, an understudied and clandestine subculture of the Black gay community with high HIV prevalence. The d-up! Defend Yourself” intervention, which has shown efficacy with BMSM, may be particularly well-suited for reaching BYMSM in the House Ball community. An adaptation of Kelly’s Popular Opinion leader (POL) intervention d-up! Defend Yourself! utilizes opinion leaders from within the community to change social norms and perceptions of BMSM regarding safer sex practices. d-up! is delivered by members of the targeted community, thus providing “intravention”, an approach most appropriate for insulated and marginalized communities such as the House Ball community. In this application, we propose to tailor the d-up! intervention for relevance with the Chicago House Ball community and then conduct a small, pilot trial to test for feasibility and acceptability.