Stop AIDS Looks at New Prevention Techniques
September 4, 2009
At the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, Stop AIDS Project (SAP) recently presented the results of a survey that collected men's feedback on specific structural interventions proposed for making bars, sex clubs and Web sites more supportive of safer sex. Researchers in the "Where" study interviewed almost 200 men, chiefly Bay Area men who have sex with men.
"A guiding question for this project was, 'What if we could reduce the chance of someone getting HIV or STDs without changing the frequency of condom usage?" said Jen Hecht, SAP's education director. SAP conducted the study with the University of California-San Francisco, the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the California STD/HIV Prevention Training Center.
Suggestions included promoting "protected-sex only" Web hookup sites and providing bracelets for sex club patrons that disclose information important in negotiating potentially safer sex. In one-on-one conversations, men were asked whether a particular intervention was a good or bad idea, and how likely they were to participate.
For instance, the men approved of on-site STD testing at sex clubs and paying an additional $1 to enter a club if it went to purchase prevention materials. While most thought sending outreach workers to bars is a good idea, few men said they would personally interact with them. Respondents liked a proposal to make free water easier to access in bars -- but not the idea of banning two-for-one "happy hour" drink specials.
SAP representatives said the agency is continuing to assess the feasibility of more than 50 suggested structural interventions for a possible pilot program. "We might think something is a great idea, but if no one is going to use it, then it's not worth the energy to set it up," Hecht said.
Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco)
09.03.09; Brian Gougherty