Travis County Integral Care, Austin, Texas
In terms of HIV and who is testing positive, we already know the number of cases among young gay men of color is increasing. What is left undetermined is a real reason or solution to this. Yes, HIV in this particular group is being transmitted via unprotected anal sex, that we have determined. But what can we do as prevention providers to reduce their exposure to HIV? That is our real mission.
What are we missing? Where can we bridge the gap? Prevention programs often use interventions that solely focus on reducing "problem behaviors." This strategy, unfortunately, limits our ability to meet these young people's needs. Sure, we can provide them with condoms and pamphlets and education, but what young gay men of color need is motivation.
To reach this population, these young men need to be mobilized and educated to support each other about safer sex. As providers, we need to embed prevention strategies into already existing social communities. We have to meet them where they already are. We have to accept that empowerment among young gay men of color is a defining factor for prevention.