243876 Mobilizing the United States' Diverse African American MSM population: Engagement, Recruitment and Retention Strategies of HPTN 061, the BROTHERS Study

Monday, October 31, 2011

Christopher Watson, MPHc , School of Public Health and Health Services Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
Christopher Hucks-Ortiz, MPH , Division of HIV Services, JWCH Institute Inc, Los Angeles, CA
Sheldon D. Fields, PhD, RN, FNP , School of Nursing, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Leo Wilton, PhD, MA , Department of Human Development, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
Issue(s): African American MSM represents a quarter of new infections annually despite having lower prevalence of sexual risk behaviors than their white counterparts. The under-representation of African American MSM in HIV research highlights the urgent need to obtain specific information about the diversity of African American MSM cultures. HPTN 061 offers a unique opportunity to characterize the epidemic among African American MSM with a focus on seeking a deeper understanding of its characteristics. Description: The BROTHERS study is a community-level pilot study being conducted in 8 US communities to determine the feasibility and acceptability of a multi-component HIV-prevention intervention with African American MSM recruited through various social marketing campaigns coupled with venue based recruitment techniques. Lessons Learned: Through quantitative and qualitative methods, researchers in the 7 communities have begun to better understand the complexities of working with diverse populations with myriad needs. From June 09 Sept 10, each site screened for eligibility that resulted in recruitment of 1561 eligible African American MSM. Participants were heterogeneous, ranging from men with basic survival needs (e.g., housing, medical care) to those fulfilling altruistic needs by participating and being retained in the study. Recommendation: Engaging the diverse US African American MSM population must include a multi-level process that is grounded in community engagement. Future research should obtain additional information about the diverse network complexities that exist, including a formative analysis of the needs of the African American MSM population. Effective strategies should then be developed that directly address the complexities of this population.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Diversity and culture
Epidemiology
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe strategies utilized in the BROTHERS study to engage, recruit and retain study participants in various communities. 2. Describe the methods for integrating research methodologies into a community-engaged feasibility study. 3. Describe how the community engagement process helped to influence and improve study implementation and garner community support or the BROTHERS study. 4. Describe national and local study branding completed for recruiting participants. 5. Explain retention efforts to retain diverse MSM populations and overall lessons learned.

Keywords: African American, Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I serve as a site coordinator for one of the 7 sites involved in the project.
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.