244316 Building healthier young gay, bisexual and queer men: Youth Empowered Against HIV

Monday, October 31, 2011

Shehan V. Welihindha, MEd , Department of Health Promotion, Education, & Behavior, University of South Carolina - Arnold School of Public Health, Columbia, SC
Jason D. Coleman, PhD, MSPH , School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, University of Nebraska Omaha, Omaha, NE
Ryan C. Wilson, MEd , South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Columbia, SC
Issues: Although the incidence of HIV has stabilized in the general population, it continues to increase in young men who have sex with men (YMSM). Few targeted interventions exist to address this issue in YMSM populations. Description: Youth Empowered Against HIV (YEAH) is a locally-developed intervention for self-identified young gay, bisexual, and queer men in a mid-sized city in a predominantly rural southeastern state. YEAH addresses multiple levels of the social ecologic model by using positive youth development framework, paired with peer education and community-level strategies. An important feature of the intervention is that it focuses not only on behavior, but also on the development of positive identity in participants. Youth identify local venues where socially marketed condom dispensers are placed and maintained to provide condoms and to serve as catalysts for peer education around HIV/AIDS. Lessons Learned: YEAH was developed using a community-based approach where members of the target population played an active role in multiple aspects, including format, educational strategy, content, marketing, technology integration, and recruitment. Program participants have demonstrated core elements of positive youth development through building confidence, character, connection, competence, and contribution. Recommendations: Locally developed, theoretically-based interventions may be particularly effective in reaching priority populations. Likewise, the development of interventions that promote youth development in addition to HIV risk reduction through behavioral modification is a viable strategy to reduce the incidence of HIV in YMSM. This presentation will provide a framework for other community-based groups to use in their own intervention development or implementation.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to describe the process of developing an HIV prevention intervention for an underserved population. Participants will be able discuss the integration of positive identity development and behavioral modification strategies for HIV prevention programs.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked on this project for over a year, and I contributed to the research to be presented.
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.