SOMOS: evaluation of an HIV prevention intervention for Latino gay men.
Vega MY, Spieldenner AR, Deleon D, Nieto BX, Stroman CA.
1Research & Evaluation Department, Latino Commission on AIDS, 24 West, 25th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10010, USA.
Latino gay men face multiple barriers to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention, in particular a lack of intervention programs that integrate prevention messages with cultural norms and address issues of social marginalization from multiple communities (gay community and Latino community), homophobia and racism. In order to address these specific issues, a multilayered HIV intervention was designed to incorporate and integrate psychosocial and community factors through multiple session groups, social marketing and community presentations. Participants learned strategies for effective community leadership and were encouraged to provide HIV education and address internalized homophobia in their communities. There were a total of 113 Latino gay male participants. Pretests and post-tests at 90-day follow-up were administered to measure knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to HIV infection, self-efficacy, internalized homophobia and connectedness (i.e. gay community affiliation and social provisions); a risk index was calculated to measure level of behavioral risk for HIV infection. Participants demonstrated lower risk indices and a decrease in partners at 3 and 6 months after the intervention. There was also an increase in reported social support resources, along with an increase in group identification. Connectedness was a strong predictor of the number of sexual partners at the 90-day follow-up. This homegrown program represents a culturally responsive, highly needed and relevant intervention that should be subjected to further rigorous testing.