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No Turning Back

Addressing the HIV Crisis Among Men Who Have Sex with Men

November 2001

Prevention Research

To ensure that prevention programs nationwide are based on sound science, CDC spends more than $80 million annually on prevention research. CDC's research focuses on identifying factors that influence risk behavior and evaluating various biomedical and behavioral approaches to preventing HIV transmission.

In recognition of the seriousness of the HIV-related threat now facing diverse MSM, the majority of CDC's HIV prevention research is designed to strengthen MSM-focused HIV prevention efforts. Current CDC research in this area includes:

CITY (Community Intervention Trial for Youth)

This research project is designed in response to the relative lack of prevention studies on young MSM. The project is evaluating prevention approaches to encourage young MSM (ages 15 to 25) to adopt safer behaviors. African-American and Latino MSM make up nearly two-thirds of study participants (30 percent and 34 percent, respectively), while Asian and Pacific Islander MSM comprise an additional 12 percent.

SUMIT (Seropositive Urban Men's Intervention Trial)

This study is assessing two different prevention interventions targeting HIV-positive MSM. One intervention is a six-session program using HIV-positive peer facilitators, and the other is a single-session community forum intervention. Half of all participants are men of color.

Factors Underlying New Infections

Another study seeks to expand the knowledge base regarding the factors that contribute to new HIV infections and risk behaviors among MSM. The study will recruit MSM (both HIV-positive and HIV-negative) who have recently been tested for HIV. Using the STARHS technology to identify new infections, researchers will attempt to identify the factors associated with recent HIV transmission among MSM.


HIV Vaccine Research

This study is designed to investigate the potential impact that enrollment in an HIV vaccine trial has on trial participants' sexual risk behavior, and provide guidance for the successful development of future trials. The CDC-funded research is being conducted at six U.S. sites in the AIDSVAX vaccine trial, sponsored by the biotechnology company VaxGen. Participants in the trial, predominantly MSM, are at high risk of HIV infection.

MSM of Color

CDC has begun new research on the cultural, social, psychological and behavioral factors that contribute to HIV infection in African-American and Latino MSM. In addition to expanding understanding of prevention for these key populations, the research project will also include the development of culturally relevant interventions to promote safer behaviors in these groups.

Study of Prevention Messages for MSM

CDC is assessing various prevention messages targeted toward MSM to determine which are most effective at this stage of the epidemic. Young MSM are a major focus of the study. A supplemental component of the project studies the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of MSM attendees at circuit parties. Sixty percent of the 500 MSM enrolled in the overall study are African American or Latino.

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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.