215646 Community-engaged research to identify support and risk in the House and Ball communities

Monday, November 8, 2010

Katrina Kubicek, PhDc , Community, Health Outcomes, and Intervention Research, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
William Beyer, MPH, MSW , Community, Health Outcomes, and Intervention Research, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Miles McNeeley, MSW , Community, Health Outcomes, and Intervention Research Program, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
George Weiss , Community, Health Outcomes, and Intervention Research, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Father Taz Ultra Omni , Los Angeles Chapter, House of Ultra Omni, Los Angeles, CA
Michele Kipke, PhD , Community, Health Outcomes, and Intervention Research, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Background: African American young men who have sex with men (AAYMSM) represent the largest proportion of new infections among MSM. Though HIV prevention efforts using bar-settings or community-based organizations have been met with success, research indicates that many at-risk AAYMSM do not frequent these venues. Instead, AAYMSM may be reached through the House and Ball communities communities with high HIV incidence rates. Methods: A community-engaged, mixed-methods approach was used to identify elements of support and risk within the Los Angeles Ballroom community. Participant observations, qualitative interviews with House leaders (N=26), and a quantitative survey at House/Ball events (N=252) were completed. Data will be used to develop interventions deisgned for and by the Ballroom community. Results: Survey results indicate that 85% of respondents identify as African American; 69% identify as gay and 25% as bisexual. Thirteen percent reported recent use of ecstasy (compared to 7% of a similarly-aged non-Ball AAYMSM sample) and 11% participated in sex exchange in the last three months (compared to 4% of other AAYMSM sample). Qualitative interviews revealed key features of support (e.g., family and support; acceptance; validation, recognition) and risk (e.g., members' struggle to maintain status in Ballroom scene; sex work; substance use; danger of becoming too involved in Ball community; perception and stigma of Ballroom scene within larger gay community) within these communities. Conclusions: House and Ball communities offer unique opportunities for HIV prevention and findings are discussed in relation to leveraging the communities' supportive aspects to design effective and relevant HIV prevention programs.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the House and Ball communities. Identify mechanisms of support and risk within the House and Ball communities.

Keywords: Community Collaboration, HIV Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I designed the ethnographic portion of this mixed methods study and have served as the project manager.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.