California: N2Men Site to Reach GBT Men in South Bay
August 23, 2011
The San Jose-based Health Trust recently launched a website to provide culturally specific HIV and STD information to South Bay men who have sex with men and to transgender residents. Funding for the website, N2Men.org, came from part of a $75,000 Elton John AIDS Foundation grant for HIV prevention and education in the South Bay, said Frederick Ferrer, the trust's CEO.
Website topics include best STD/HIV prevention practices, where to get an HIV test in San Jose, and social options other than bars. Ferrer said the site expects to host blog posts by experts.
"If you really are going to do HIV or STD prevention, you really have to think about what are the reasons why people don't use protection even after they've received education," Ferrer said. "If education alone solved the problem, we wouldn't have infection rates going up."
While the rate of "HIV is not necessarily rising, STDs are rising at an alarming rate," said Patty Fisher, the trust's director of policy and communications. "Having an STD raises the likelihood of HIV infection."
Between 2009 and 2010, Santa Clara County recorded a 38 percent increase in primary and secondary syphilis cases, according to data Fisher cited. Of new infections, 90 percent were in men who have sex with men, and 41 percent were among those ages 20-29.
The Aug. 20 launch coincided with San Jose's LGBT Pride festival, where Health Trust's 20 HIV/STD prevention peer counselors promoted the website.
The first phase of the website cost about $10,000, mostly for agency-tasked work, Ferrer said. A second phase will include more content by year's end and likely cost another $5,000, he said.
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
08.18.2011; Seth Hemmelgarn
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