d-up: Defend Yourself!

d-up: Defend Yourself! (d-up!) is an HIV prevention intervention developed by and designed for black men who have sex with men (MSM). d-up! promotes social norms of condom use and assists black MSM to recognize and handle risk-related racial and sexual bias.

About d-up: Defend Yourself!

d-up: Defend Yourself! (d-up!) is a community-level HIV prevention intervention for black men who have sex with men (MSM). d-up! is a cultural adaptation of the Popular Opinion Leader (POL) intervention and is designed to change social norms and perceptions of black MSM regarding condom use. d-up! finds and enlists opinion leaders whose advice is respected and trusted by their peers. These opinion leaders are trained to change risky sexual norms in their own social networks.

Intervention Goal

  • To increase condom use with main and other sex partners among black MSM.

Intervention Core Elements

  • Direct d-up! to an identified at-risk target population in well-defined community venues.
  • Use key informants and systematic observation.
  • Recruit and train opinion leaders from each friendship group found in the intervention venue.
  • Raise opinion leaders’ awareness of how negative social and cultural factors impact black MSM’s sexual risk behavior.
  • Teach opinion leaders skills for putting risk reduction endorsement messages into everyday conversations.
  • Teach opinion leaders the elements of effective behavior change messages.
  • Train opinion leaders to endorse the benefits of safer sex in their conversations.
  • Hold weekly sessions for small groups of opinion leaders.
  • Have opinion leaders set goals to hold risk-reduction conversations.
  • Review, discuss, and reinforce the outcomes of the opinion leaders’ conversations.
  • Use logos, symbols, or other items as “conversation starters.”

Target Population

Black MSM who are in social networks with other black MSM.

d-up: Defend Yourself! Training

This training has 1 component:

  • 8-hour eLearning module

This 8-hour online course is divided into 14 chapters with separate offline assignments designed to be flexible enough to work around the complex schedules of those who would implement the intervention.

To access eLearning modules:

  1. Log-in to CDC TRAIN and access the HIV CBA Training Plan (step-by-step instructions are available).
  2. Select the module you wish to take.
  3. Launch the module or save the module for later.

If you have questions or need additional assistance, please contact HIVCBA@cdc.gov.

Implementation and Marketing Materials

The materials and resources listed below support the implementation and/or marketing of d-up! by health departments, community-based organizations, and health care or other organizations. The resources are evidence-based and designed for cost-effective, scalable implementation.

  • Jones KT, Gray P, Whiteside YO, Wang T, Bost D, Dunbar E, Foust E, Johnson WD. Evaluation of an HIV prevention intervention adapted for Black men who have sex with men. Am J Public Health 2008;98(6):1043-1050.