Effective strategies for reaching HIV positive YMSM of color: lessons learned

Published: July 22, 2010

Effective strategies for reaching HIV positive YMSM of color: lessons learned

K. Bynes, A. Quamina

AIDS Project of the East Bay, Youth Services, Oakland, United States

Issues: Traditional adult models of outreach and care have been unsuccessful at keeping youth engaged in care. Innovative models of outreach and care designed with youth in mind are needed to find, engage, and retain HIV positive youth in care. Through a U.S. HHS, HRSA-SPNS grant APEB was funded to identify and retain in care HIV positive young MSM of color using novel outreach methods.
Description: CIP is a demonstration project that has developed strategies for identifying and retaining young MSM of color in HIV specialty care through a variety of innovativestrategies. This five year program began by trying to transpose outreach and retention strategies that have been used successfully in other contexts with HIV positive adults or with HIV negative youth. Eventually, an innovative “in-reach” model was developed.
Lessons learned:
1) Strategies that have shown effectiveness for recruiting HIV negative youth have not shown effectiveness for recruiting YMSM.
2) Strategies used for adults have not shown effectiveness for YMSM.
3) Stigma affects the manner in which YMSM respond to outreach, recruitment and retention activities.
4) Strong interpersonal relationships with HIV positive YMSM are essential for recruiting other HIV positive YMSM. These strong interpersonal relationships can be leveraged into other outreach and recruitment strategies (e.g. a social networks recruitment strategy, a sexual networks recruitment strategy, a social services catchment strategy, a word of mouth strategy).
5) Services provided must be culturally, linguistically, and developmentally appropriate.
6) Integrated systems of care and social service provision are essential for identifying, engaging, and retaining YMSM in HIV specialty care.
7) Young men of color who have sex with men are capable of maintaining relationships with clinicians and adhering to complex medical regimens when adequately/appropriately supported.
Next steps: Continued, research is required to develop these lessons learned into a retention in care model with evidence of effectiveness.

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