Friday, September 26, 2014

10 ways Mpowerment Projects can address the HIV Continuum of Care

When people with HIV are fully engaged in care they can live as long as people without HIV and they are much less likely to transmit HIV to others. Community level interventions such as the Mpowerment Project (MP) can play an important role in helping young, HIV-positive gay and bisexual men:
  • know their HIV status
  • navigate and link to care
  • stay in care over time
  • adhere to antiretroviral therapy in order to achieve a low level of HIV in their bodies
What is the Mpowerment Project?  Download Module 1: Overview here.

We are actively researching ways to adapt the MP to help young, HIV-positive gay and bisexual men  fully engage in care. This includes finding new ways for HIV+ and HIV- men to come together and support each other. We want HIV positive members to be linked to care and find a supportive and welcoming home in MP. Stay tuned. We will soon be sharing our ideas through our website.

RELATED:  What is the Mpowerment Project? Download Module 1: Mpowerment Overview.

Joey and Grant. Denver Pique | Mpowerment CO

10 ways Mpowerment Projects can address 
the Continuum of Care

#StigmaSideEye via Q Austin | Mpowerment Texas
1) HIV stigma is a barrier to engagement in HIV care because it causes people to avoid knowing their HIV status, can isolate people with HIV from the social support they need to get or stay in care, and creates a culture of secrecy that interferes with truthful communication about HIV. MP can address HIV stigma within the young gay/bisexual men’s communities. Projects can place messages through social media and posters around their space that address HIV stigma. They can host public forums, and actively work to create safe spaces where anyone regardless of status can participate in project activities. 

2) MP can help create social and community norms that support young gay/bisexual men to know their status by testing every 3- 6 months

3) MP can help young adult gay and bisexual living with HIV by providing their communities with tips and tools, such as phone aps, that help adhere to treatments. Such tips and tools can provide accurate and important information about medication adherence and other related information to increase HIV literacy. 

Click to enlarge
4) Additionally, MPs can help young men living with HIV find peer support to remind them to take their pills, accompany them to their healthcare providers, listen to their experiences as HIV-positive community members, and to be their allies for staying healthy.
DENIM | Mpowerment Washington DC
5) Some MPs have created groups for men living with HIV to come together to discuss issues important to them.  Some MPs may host these at the project space - or in members’ homes.

6) Project Spaces, one of MPs' Core Elements, also provide information on accessing comprehensive counseling or case management services to link young, HIV-positive men to care. 
7) Informal outreach, another one of the MP’s core elements, can be used to help encourage HIV positive members to access treatment and take their meds. Risk reduction messages are aimed at both positive and negative men.
8) Assign an agency or clinic Case Manager to a project to act as a liaison. The coordinator could then walk men who are interested in care over to someone the know personally. 

The Mu Crew | Somos OC and Mpowerment YVR

9) Develop strong relationships with local clinics. Develop relationships with their linkage and/or care staff so you can offer personalized referrals - “Actually my really good friend ‘Bob’ - knows all about HIV meds and how to get financial aid".  Have strong relationships at your fingertips to refer young men to services.

10) Materials can be created and distributed at venues where young gay and bisexual men gather, and posted on social media that address:

  • That HIV medications are really effective these days, so much so that no young man should be passing away from HIV anymore. They are much less toxic and much easier to use. 
  • That the medications do not affect how you look. You cannot tell by looking at someone that they are on medications.
  • That friends can support friends who are living with HIV by reminding them to keep their doctor's appointments and by taking their medications regularly. 
We would like to hear your feedback about these suggestions and any examples of how you are putting these and other ideas into action. 

Evolution Project | Mpowerment Atlanta GA
Making HIV prevention a priority among Gay and Bisexual men.

Read more about the Mpowerment Project in the manual.   The manual is a free download when you register at Click here for a quick look at the essential Core Elements of the Mpowerment Project. 

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