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

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 RFA-1308: Promoting Adolescent Health Through School-Based HIV/STD Prevention and School-Based Surveillance Cdc-pdf[PDF – 771K] .

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 StrategyExternal. Funded partners implement multiple activities to meet the local HIV/STD prevention needs of black and Latino 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
  • Market HIV/STD prevention to teen YMSM
  • Implement evidence-based HIV prevention interventions tailored for teen YMSM
HIV Among YMSM: Facts at a Glance
  • In 2015, youth aged 13 to 24 accounted for 22% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States. Most of those new diagnoses among youth (81%) occurred among gay and bisexual males.1
  • Of newly diagnosed males in 2015, 55% (3,888) were black, 24% (1,672) were Hispanic/Latino, and 16% (1,159) were white. 1
  • If current rates persist, projections suggest approximately 1 in 6 MSM are at risk of becoming infected with HIV in their lifetime, with even worse projections for Latino MSM (1 in 4) and black MSM (1 in 2).2
  • About 60% of all youth with HIV do not know they are infected, are not getting treated, and can unknowingly pass the virus on to others.3

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Among Youth. Accessed May 26, 2017.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC fact sheet: HIV Among Gay and Bisexual MenCdc-pdf. 2017. Accessed May 26, 2017.
  3. CDC. Vital Signs: HIV Infection, Testing, and Risk Behaviors Among Youths — United States. MMWR 2012:61(47);971-976.

Page last reviewed: June 12, 2017 (archived document)