House/Ball Culture and Adolescent African-American Transgender Persons and Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Synthesis of the Literature

Published: April 1, 2011

Young men of color who have sex with men (YMSM of color) and transgender individuals have been severely impacted by the US HIV/AIDS epidemic. In the United States, “houses” and “balls” have historically been a primary meeting ground for YMSM of color and transgender persons, and thus they offer an opportunity for HIV prevention activities. “Houses provide a familial structure for YMSM of color and transgender people, while balls provide them with events at which they can congregate for social support and entertainment,” the authors wrote. The team undertook a comprehensive literature search using Scopus and PubMed, Internet sites and HIV prevention and care resources for YMSM of color associated with a multisite evaluation. While noting that additional studies “are needed to identify culturally appropriate and effective methods of integration of house/ball methods into HIV prevention services aimed at transgender persons and YMSM of color,” the authors’ literature review determined that “houses and balls have been responsive to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.” The networks developed by houses and balls “are critical in providing a social and familiar context for often-disenfranchised youth. The organizations have embraced the need for HIV prevention, and their methodology may be transferable to other prevention contexts,” the authors concluded.

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