Real-World Strategies to Engage and Retain Racial-Ethnic Minority Young Men Who Have Sex with Men in HIV Prevention Services

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Abstract

Racial/ethnic minority young men who have sex with men (YMSM)—particularly African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos—are at particularly high risk for HIV infection. Devising strategies to improve engagement and retention in HIV prevention services among minority YMSM is critical if the United States is going to achieve the National HIV/AIDS Strategy goal of reducing HIV health-related disparities. This article presents findings from a national summit on racial/ethnic YMSM services convened by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-funded Center of Excellence on Racial and Ethnic Minority Young Men Who Have Sex with Men and Other Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Populations (YMSM + LGBT CoE) in September 2015. The summit included (1) subgroup discussions focused on issues related to treatment access, outreach/engagement/retention, continuing care/recovery support, and health literacy for minority YMSM; and (2) a ranking process, where the NIATx Nominal Group Technique was used to identify the strategies and approaches that summit participants believed to be most promising for engaging and retaining minority YMSM in HIV prevention services. Analyses of results from summit activities highlight four key cross-cutting strategies— utilizing peers, providing holistic care, making services fun, and utilizing technology—as critical for engaging minority YMSM in HIV prevention care. Examples of programs that utilize these strategies and implications of these findings for policy and practice are discussed.

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