Mpowerment is an HIV prevention intervention for young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men of diverse backgrounds (YGBSMSM). Mpowerment mobilizes YGBSMSM to reduce sexual risk behaviors, encourages regular HIV testing, builds positive social connections, and supports peers to have safer sex.
Mpowerment was developed for young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (YGBSMSM) of diverse backgrounds ages 18-29. It focuses on increasing HIV testing; decreasing sexual risk behavior among HIV-positive, HIV-negative, and YGBMSM who do not know their HIV-status; and distributing condoms and lubricant.
Mpowerment is meant to be run by a core group of 12-20 young men from the community and paid staff.
- To reduce sexual risk taking.
- To encourage regular HIV testing.
- To build positive social connections.
- To support peers to have safer sex.
Intervention Core Elements
The Mpowerment program is based on seven guiding principles which are used for adapting the intervention to diverse populations and settings, and relies on the following set of integrated core elements:
- Core Group: The intervention is run by a core group of 12-20 YGBMSM.
- Formal Outreach: YGBMSM teams go to locations frequented by other young men to discuss and promote frequent HIV testing and safer sex, distribute condoms and lubricants, and deliver appealing literature on testing and HIV risk reduction.
- M-groups: These peer-led, 3-hour meetings of eight to 10 YGBMSM discuss factors contributing to infrequent or no HIV testing and unsafe sex among the men (for example, increasing motivation for frequent HIV testing, meeting partners online, beliefs that safer sex is not enjoyable, and poor sexual communication skills).
- Informal Outreach: Informal outreach consists of YGBMSM discussing the need for frequent HIV testing and safer sex with their friends in their social networks.
- Ongoing Publicity Campaign: The campaign attracts men to the project by word of mouth and publicity-related outreach at bars/clubs, and online methods.
- Project Space: Ideally, the project has its own physical space where most social events and meetings are held and serves as a drop-in center where YGBMSM can meet and socialize.
- Mpowerment was developed for young, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (YGBSMSM) of diverse backgrounds ages 18-29. Black and Latino MSM, including those on the “down low” with or without female partners have successfully implemented culturally appropriate adaptions of Mpowerment.
Technical assistance for the implementation of Mpowerment is available.
To request technical assistance:
- CDC’s directly funded health department and CBO partners may request technical assistance by submitting a request in the CBA Tracking System.
- Organizations not directly funded by CDC may contact their local health department for assistance in submitting a request.
If you have questions or need additional assistance, please contact DHAPCBB@cdc.gov.
Implementation and Marketing Materials
Please visit the Mpowerment Project’s websiteexternal icon for materials and resources that support Mpowerment implementation including the program implementation manual, group facilitator guides, and the facilitator training video.
- Kegeles SM, Hays RB, Coates TJ. The Mpowerment Project: A community-level HIV prevention intervention for young gay men. Am J Public Health 1996;86(8):1129-1136.
- Hays RB, Rebchook GM, Kegeles SM. The Mpowerment Project: Community-building with young gay and bisexual men to prevent HIV. Am J Community Psychol 2003;31(3-4):301-312.
- Kahn JG, Kegeles SM, Hays R, Beltzer N. Cost-effectiveness of the Mpowerment Project, a community-level intervention for young gay men. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2001;27(5):482-491.
- Kegeles SM, Hays RB, Pollack LM, Coates TJ. Mobilizing young gay and bisexual men for HIV prevention: A two-community study. AIDS 1999;13(13):1753-1762.