221239 Online Communities and CBPR: Engaging with Corporate Partners to Improve the Sexual Health of MSM

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 11:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Joshua G. Rosenberger, MPH , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
David S. Novak, MSW , OLB Research Institute, Online Buddies Inc., Cambridge, MA
Michael Reece, PhD, MPH , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Issues: The CBPR approach has been particularly helpful to those in both academic and the community who are working to reduce the impact of HIV and other sexual health issues. In addition to traditional communities, it is important to recognize online communities, effective and ethical access to which often requires engagement with the corporate entities that make available such online services. Description: A series of projects were conducted in collaboration with Online Buddies Inc, a company that hosts online social and sexual networking websites that specifically cater to populations of men who have sex with men (MSM). The studies involved the collection of data from men that explored their overall health practices, quality of life measures, sexual behaviors, condom use, erectile function, relationship characteristics, and sex toy use. Lessons Learned: While the results of the partnership will have many traditional outcomes of CBPR research, it is the case that the operationalization of CBPR principles varies from studies that involve traditional communities. These are primarily related to issues of: a) balancing public health and corporate goals, b) engaging members of virtual communities, and c) translating research findings into public health programs online. Recommendations: Online communities, and the corporate entities that facilitate them, have the potential to play important roles in our ability to attain public health goals. While varied in many ways from traditional CBPR efforts, these academic-community-corporate partnerships offer new and innovative mechanisms for improving the sexual health of MSM who are seeking sexual and social interactions in virtual environments.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss different types of communities that exist when doing sexual health work. Describe how the principles of CBPR can be applied to working with corporations. Assess whether CBPR methods may be appropriate, or inappropriate, within their respective communities based on the findings of this study.

Keywords: Community-Based Public Health, Sexuality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work in sexual health research and have been a project coordinator for several years, conducting diverse sexual health-related studies that span adolescents and young adults. I continue this work as a doctoral student in sexual health.
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.