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Gay and Bisexual Men's Health

Behavioral Research Activities on Gay, Bisexual, and MSM Health

Formative Work to Develop and Pilot-Test New Behavioral Interventions Targeting MSM

CDC is conducting formative work to inform the development of new behavioral interventions and identify behavior change interventions with promising findings that would warrant further study. The preliminary evaluations supported within this work follow a group of high-risk individuals before and after they participate in the intervention to assess if HIV-related risk behaviors decreased (or protective behaviors increased) after the intervention.  A number of formative studies have just completed or are currently underway at this time, including those focusing on various high-risk MSM populations, some of which are highlighted below:

  • Meth-using MSM Project-This project supported the development and pilot test of behavioral interventions designed to reduce sexual risk behaviors of methamphetamine-using MSM in four U.S. sites.

  • Latino and Africa American Men’s Project (LAAMP) for high-risk Hispanic/Latino and African American men.  The LAAMP project was designed to fund six different sites to determine preliminary effects of newly developed behavioral interventions designed to reduce HIV acquisition and transmission among African American MSM and among Latino MSM.  All sites have developed innovative or culturally tailored group-level, multi-session interventions: four sites are focusing on interventions for AA MSM; two sites for Latino MSM.

  • Entertainment-Education Serial Drama Intervention–“Reality Check” is a serial drama for African American youth that was designed to be shown on a public transportation system within a geographical area where community members are at elevated risk for HIV (e.g. public buses in Los Angeles).  It consists of 27 three-minute “soap opera” style episodes with the HIV prevention goals of promoting norms, intentions, and behaviors around HIV testing, condom use, abstinence, and reducing homophobia and HIV stigma.

  • Development and Testing of an HIV Prevention Intervention Targeting Black Men Who Have Sex with Men and Women (MSM/W)—Under this four-year project, three grantees develop and test an HIV prevention intervention for Black MSM/W.  Each grantee will enroll at least 250 men and randomly assign them to an intervention or control condition. The intervention condition will focus on sexual risk reduction (e.g., unprotected sex, sexual partner concurrency) and the importance of self-care, including the benefits of routine HIV/STD testing. Process data will be collected from participants in both the intervention and control conditions to document recruitment progress, intervention acceptability, and attrition.

Evaluating Locally-Developed Behavioral Interventions Targeting MSM

CDC supports the rigorous evaluation of “homegrown” or locally-developed behavioral interventions as a way to identify innovative strategies developed, by the community, for the community, that are effective in reducing HIV risk among high risk individuals.  

  • CDC recently completed one such evaluation study identifying an evidence-based intervention developed for Black MSM – Many Men, Many Voices (3MV).  In 2009, 3MV, a small-group intervention developed and implemented by People of Color in Crisis, Inc. (POCC) in Brooklyn, NY, was proven to significantly reduce unprotected anal intercourse with casual male partners (Wilton et al.,2009). 
  • CDC is supporting the evaluation of three additional locally-developed interventions for MSM – the Critical Thinking and Cultural Affirmation (CTCA) intervention, developed for African American MSM by Black Men’s Exchange Program in New York City; MyLife MyStyle, developed for African American MSM by In the Meantime Men’s Group, Inc. in Los Angeles; and HOLA en Grupos, developed for Latino MSM by Chatham Social Health Council in rural North Carolina. 

Evaluating Research-Developed Behavioral Interventions Targeting MSM

African American male


In addition to evaluating locally-developed interventions, CDC also supports the more rigorous evaluation of behavioral interventions targeting MSM that have been developed by researchers based on behavioral change theory and formative data to better target various MSM populations.

  • Project MIX was a multi-site evaluation study focusing on substance using MSM across four sites (Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City).  This project targeted men of all races and serostatuses and focused on reducing unprotected sex with a particular emphasis on sexual risk taking during drug use. The study found that those receiving both the intervention and an attention-control comparison reported significantly less unsafe sex over time after being exposed to the intervention.

  • The Ground Breaking Interventions Project supports the development and testing of an internet-based intervention using various delivery methods that will be appropriate for all MSM. The various delivery methods being explored include a standard test-based prevention website, a dramatic video addressing sexual risk reduction within the context of alcohol use, a documentary video addressing condom use, HIV disclosure, and HIV testing via testimonies of three HIV-positive MSM, and the combination of both videos.

  • CDC is supporting the development and rigorous evaluation of three different interventions specifically designed for bisexually active Black men, or Black MSMW.  Each of three grantees is developing a unique intervention that will focus on reducing unsafe sexual risk with both male and female sex partners.  One intervention is an Internet-based intervention while another focuses on recently incarcerated bisexual black men. 

Adapting Proven Interventions to Meet the Needs of MSM Populations

CDC is evaluating if adapting proven interventions to meet the needs of high risk groups, other than those targeted by the original intervention, can work.

  • MPowerment is a community-level intervention based on an empowerment model where a core group of young gay men from the community design and carry out the prevention activities throughout their community.
  • An evaulation is being conducted of Dilley's evidence-based Personalized Cognitive Counseling (PCC) intervention adapted for episodic substance-using HIV-negative MSM.
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