Advancing Novel HIV Prevention Intervention Research with MSM
Meeting Summary: August 22, 2009 – August 23, 2009
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
In August 2009, the Center for Mental Health Research on AIDS at NIMH, in collaboration the CDC, convened a satellite meeting prior to the CDC’s National HIV Prevention Conference, to discuss novel approaches to prevention intervention research for gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). The conveners brought together leaders in the fields of intervention development and testing, as well as community representatives to discuss novel directions that, if empirically investigated, could move the field toward the aim of reducing or alleviating the burden of HIV among MSM.
According to the most recent surveillance data from the CDC, gay, bisexual, and other MSM continue to bear a disproportionate burden of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. While White MSM continue to represent the greatest number of new infections annually, HIV continues to disproportionately impact Black MSM, compared to their representation in the general population of the United States. Despite significant efforts by researchers and community members, there remains a need for novel intervention directions to address the prevention needs of this vulnerable population. MSM represent a heterogeneous at-risk sub-group due to a variety of factors, some behavioral and some more social-contextual (e.g., community HIV prevalence). The next generation of HIV prevention interventions will need to address and account for contextual shifts in the realities, beliefs and behaviors across the diverse spectrum of MSM living in the United States.
The meeting was structured to allow for substantial discussion; thus, the first set of presentations outlined broad overarching issues, while subsequent panels were brief and more focused. Four panels covered the following areas: developing novel healthy sex interventions; community and structural-level interventions; integrated biomedical and behavioral interventions; and, HIV testing. Speakers were asked to focus on novel approaches to account for and address the complex social, structural and developmental factors that contribute to ongoing HIV infections. The majority of the meeting presentations and discussion focused on identifying research gaps in designing risk-reducing and sexual health promoting interventions for MSM, as well as addressing the broader needs of MSM—including interventions to address mental health, substance use, disclosure, and stigma.
The thematic areas that emerged from the meeting discussion include: novel intervention development; implementation of existing interventions; and, policy and structural level research.