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The Young Men Who Have Sex with Men (YMSM) Project:
Reducing the Risk of HIV/STD Infection

Three interconnected circles defining YMSM: Identity, Attraction and Behavior
Defining YMSM

The goal of the YMSM Project is to reduce the risk of HIV and STD infection in YMSM students (ages 13–19) with a focus on black and Latino YMSM. To accomplish this goal, the project works to:

  • Increase the number of teen YMSM who are tested and treated for HIV and STD
  • Decrease sexual risk behaviors among teen YMSM
  • Reduce absenteeism and school drop-out among teen YMSM

For this project, "YMSM" includes young men who identify as gay or bisexual, are attracted to other males, and/or engage in sexual behavior with other males.

The YMSM Project's innovative, school-centered approach is led by CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH). The project is funded jointly by the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP) and DASH through the cooperative agreement CDC RFA-1308:Promoting Adolescent Health Through School-Based HIV/STD Prevention and School-Based Surveillance.

Four partners are funded to address the HIV/STD Prevention needs of black and Latino YMSM:

  • Advocates for Youth
  • Los Angeles Unified School District (California)
  • San Francisco Unified School District (California)
  • School Board of Broward County (Florida)

The project is guided by the National HIV/AIDS Strategy [pdf 974k],. Funded partners implement multiple activities to meet the local HIV/STD prevention needs of YMSM in priority schools:

  • Implement or expand HIV and STD testing and treatment in schools and school-based health centers
  • Increase collaboration between schools, school-based health centers, community-based organizations, and other health care providers for linkage and referral to HIV and STD testing and treatment, and evidence-based educational interventions
  • Develop a systematic process for school staff (e.g., nurses, counselors, and social workers) to refer students to HIV and STD testing and treatment
  • Assess and implement policies that impact HIV and STD-related testing, treatment, and prevention interventions for teen YMSM
  • Implement programs to promote healthy school and school-based health center environments for YMSM
  • Implement social marketing campaigns for teen YMSM that focus on HIV/STD prevention
  • Implement evidence-based HIV prevention interventions tailored for teen YMSM


HIV/STD Among YMSM: Facts at a Glance


1CDC. HIV Surveillance in Adolescents and Young Adults (through 2011). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC Web site. Available at [PDF 4.7M].
2CDC. HIV Surveillance in Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM)(through 2011). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC Web site. Available at [PDF 242K].
3CDC. Vital Signs: HIV Infection, Testing, and Risk Behaviors Among Youths -- United States. MMWR 2012:61(47);971-976.

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