216610 Connecting Hidden Communities for Research Collaboration: A Community-Based Study of Sexual Health Among Bisexual Men

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 10:50 AM - 11:10 AM

Brian Dodge, PhD , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Ryan Nix, BA , Step Up, Inc., Indianapolis, IN
Omar Martinez, BA , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Michael Reece, PhD, MPH , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Barbara Van Der Pol, PhD, MPH , Division of Infectious Diseases, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Phillip Schnarrs, MA , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
David Malebranche, MD, MPH , Division of General Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS , Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
Issues: Community has previously been found to be a critically important factor in terms of effectively reaching individuals, often organized on the basis of shared behaviors and identities, with HIV/STD prevention messages. There is currently a general lack of information on the concept of community among bisexual men, one of the highest risk groups for HIV/STD infection and transmission, and a limited understanding of how bisexual men's communities can be used to deliver effective HIV/STD prevention information.

Description: This project involved an interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers at two campuses of Indiana University, the Marion County Health Department, as well as stakeholders from the broader Indianapolis community. The community-based approach was used to acquire formative data to inform the project from the perspective of bisexual men, and organizations that serve them, at key points throughout the study. In-depth interviews and STD diagnostics from a diverse sample of 75 bisexual men were collected that provide rich insights into the individual and socio-cultural factors, as well as the sexual and risk-related decision-making processes, that may be potential targets of future sexual health promotion efforts.

Lessons Learned: Given the sensitivity of the issues that were discussed and uncovered, and the relatively hidden nature of male bisexuality, engaging community members who provided insight into local, social, and cultural norms was essential in guiding and shaping our research process.

Recommendations: Integrating formative research and community/stakeholder participation in intervention development is vital in understanding the context of potential health issues associated with bisexual men and their communities.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to: 1. identify the individual and socio-cultural determinants related to their sexual interactions that increase risk of HIV acquisition through in-depth interviews with a diverse sample of bisexual men in an underserved area of the Midwestern United States (Indianapolis); 2. evaluate the feasibility of using a community-based research perspective to engage a diverse sample of bisexual men, in terms of recruitment and participation, in a multi-method study aimed at understanding the levels of risk to sexual health in order to inform a subsequent sexual health intervention; 3. see the importance of community involvement in successfully conducting a research study aimed at acquiring information useful for designing relevant, accessible, and culturally-appropriate HIV/STI prevention information aimed at promoting sexual health for bisexual men via interventions tailored to the needs of these men.

Keywords: Community Research, Bisexual

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI of this study.
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.