Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Prevention with Positives via Adaptation of the Mpowerment Project for young Latino MSM

via Adaptation of the Mpowerment Project for young Latino MSM a free download when you register at mpowerment.org 

HIV-Positive Young Latino Men who have Sex with Men (YLMSM)

The U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy is promoting particular attention on HIV-positive people, including Prevention with Positives, linkage and maintenance of care, and support for adherence to treatment. Some of these issues can be addressed through application of MP methods, whereas some specific needs of HIV-positive YLMSM may merit some separate activities for them, particularly if some or many of them do not feel comfortable publicly disclosing their HIV status to other participants in the project. 

SOMOS | Mpowerment Wilton Manors FL

Implementation Issues 

One of the projects is implementing a support group for HIV-positive men separate from other MP activities, which is only open to HIV-positive men. For privacy reasons, and since most YLMSM are not open about their HIV status, the group meets at a location other than the project space. 

With respect to sexual risk reduction among HIV-positive men, it is important that safer sex materials are framed as reducing sexual risk behavior regardless of one’s HIV status by “protecting yourself and protecting your brothers and your community.” In addition, some materials (and posters hung in the project space) can promote sexual risk reduction specifically for HIV-positive men. It should also be clear when promoting Informal Outreach that men are reminded to talk to their friends about sexual risk reduction regardless of their friends’ HIV status.

Recommendations from Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) UCSF 

Often young men disclose their positive status to CBO project staff. When this occurs, the staff should, in addition to providing support to the men about their emotional issues regarding being HIV-positive, assess if the individuals are linked into care and receiving treatment. If the CBO already provides treatment, then the young men should be referred to that part of the organization. If the CBO does not provide treatment, it is important to make referrals to other organizations that do. Importantly, however, the staff member should stay actively involved until that linkage is complete. In other words, it is not adequate simply to give the HIV-positive participant the name of an organization, but instead it is necessary to be involved in assuring that the young man actually get to the treatment facility. Then over time, the young men should be provided support to remain linked in treatment, which may involve the staff periodically inquiring how it is going to be obtaining treatment. 

SOMOS OC | Mpowerment Orange County CA
At that time, the staff can also ask the young man how it is going in taking his medications, and if he is able to take them every day in the way that it is prescribed for him, and if not, remind him of the importance of regularly taking his medications and refer him back to the clinic. 

Again, Informal Outreach and the Project Space can be used to promote taking medications regularly.

This ties into previous recommendations that were made about developing good referrals. It is especially important to identify clinics that will provide culturally sensitive services for YLMSM, and that have good reputations in the community for addressing Latinos in general, and specifically men who are undocumented.If it seems possible to develop groups specifically for HIV- positive individuals, which require a sufficient number of men being willing to let others know that they are positive, discussions can focus on a variety of topics, including:

  • Coping with and normalizing and living with HIV
  • Health issues and health management
  • Getting into treatment and treatment adherence 
  • HIV/AIDS stigma & marginalization
  • Prevention with positives, including safer sex and STI prevention for themselves and their partners, and relationship to being in treatment to reduce viral loads and infectiousness
  • Emotional support from HIV-positive peers.

It is also possible to address some of these issues in periodic community forums. When the issues are discussed in a small group of HIV-positive men, confidentiality needs to be taken into account. This includes considering whether meeting somewhere else besides the community space or in hours when the space is not open to other participants would be important. 

via Adaptation of the Mpowerment Project for young Latino MSM a free download when you register at mpowerment.org 

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