March 24, 2011
This entry has been cross-posted from Brandon's Blogspot blog, My Feet Only Walk Forward, which is home to Brandon's general musings on life, the world and other matters.
It is my hope that My Feet Only Walk Forward is a not only a vehicle for my own special moments (aka rantings, musings, and emotional vomit ... see the footer below ... it even says so ...), but I also hope that this blog is challenges folks; helps folks think through their own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs; sheds light on some of the ways in which the world works; promotes and highlights amazing artists, organizers, performs and their work; and helps connect people to one another through the inter-webs (please note connects PEOPLE to one another ... not people to computer monitors). As I am approaching my 500th blog entry here at My Feet Only Walk Forward, and as I have looked back over the last three years of this blog, I have noticed, with much love and pride, that this blog is becoming more and more of the things I hope it will be. I appreciate all of you that have brought your work to my attention, have suggested blog topics, have shown me love, and have used what you have found here in your own work. From classrooms to audition monologues, My Feet Only Walk Forward has gone places I never dreamed it would go when I posted my first blog three years ago this month. Thank you to all of you that have supported this work.
Today's blog entry is another example of the ways in which I hope to continue fulfilling the mission of this blog. My boy Kirk Grisham is a fierce researcher and tireless advocate in the area of HIV/AIDS research and prevention. He is currently the Project Director of the You & Me study at Columbia that is examining the relationships between black and white men. Please check out the information about the study below, and if you or someone you know are the folks that Kirk is looking to find, please get in touch with him! This is important work for the community, and it can't happen unless YOU participate.
The You & Me Study is based on the principles of community-based research, which emphasizes the experiences and knowledge of its participants. Collaboration between academic researchers and community members is a hallmark of the You & Me study. Contributions of community members have been and are essential to the development and execution of the study; we value and respect your views. We know that couples are the experts on their own relationships; by speaking with us and reflecting on your experiences in your relationship, you are taking an active role in a project that will benefit the community.
The mission of the You & Me Study is to gain a better understanding of relationship dynamics and the contextual factors that shape them in order to develop interventions to improve the sexual health of men in same-sex relationships. Little health research has focused on same-sex couples, and even fewer studies have included Black and interracial same-sex couples. Talking with couples will allow us to better understand the relationship context that men must negotiate as they make decisions that affect their sexual health.
Men who have sex with men (MSM), especially Black and White men, account for the majority of HIV/AIDS cases in the United States. Even though about half of all MSM are in steady relationships, little research has focused on same-sex couples. Although there is compelling evidence that couples continue to be at risk for HIV, we know very little about relationship factors associated with risk. Our study builds on previous research in the ongoing Gay Couples Study that has found that agreements between partners are important to reducing HIV risk. You & Me will examine how agreements and other relationship-based factors may influence HIV risk behaviors among same-sex couples.