New Study Aims to Prevent Spread of HIV in High-Risk Populations

photograph of a red ribbonMay 9, 2019:

Despite great strides in decreasing the HIV infection rate in the United States over the last three decades, certain populations remain at high risk of infection. Young men who have sex with men (YMSM), especially Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino YMSM who live in inner cities, account for the most new infections annually. A new paper in JMIR Research Protocols by researchers from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Methodology Center Investigators Bethany Bray and Cara Exten Rice, and graduate student Eric Layland, describes the protocol for a longitudinal research study designed to improve HIV care and prevention among Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino YMSM.

The goal of the Healthy Young Men’s Cohort Study is to prevent new HIV infections and improve engagement with HIV care among Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino YMSM. Investigators are collecting data on drug use, sexual risk and protective behaviors, health care connectedness, mental health, stress and discrimination, emotion regulation, personal history with trauma, and more. This mixed-methods study  combines qualitative data with quantitative and biological data in order to generate the richest and most accurate data possible. These data will help characterize Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino YMSM engagement in HIV care and prevention.

Methodology Center Investigator Bethany Bray spoke about why the Healthy Young Men’s Cohort Study will have a positive impact on the health of Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino YMSM in the future. “Research that can inform tailored approaches to prevention and treatment engagement is critical. Society cannot end the HIV epidemic by 2030 without focusing on the high-risk populations in these two cohorts. These data will serve as a resource to a broad range of researchers.”

In the Healthy Young Men’s Cohort Study, data will be collected eight times at six-month intervals. The study has retained 97% of participants over the first 12 months. We look forward to the insights this study will yield.

Reference

Kipke M. D., Kubicek K., Wong C. F., Robinson Y. A., Akinyemi I. C., Beyer W. J., Hawkins W., Rice C. E., Layland E., Bray B. C., & Belzer M. (2019). A focus on the HIV care continuum through the Healthy Young Men’s Cohort Study: Protocol for a mixed-methods study. JMIR Research Protocols 8(1). PMCID: PMC6365874

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