Young Black MSM in the US are affected by HIV at severely disproportionate rates. A key component of HIV prevention for communities at risk is diagnosing HIV infections through regular HIV testing. A significant proportion of young Black MSM have not tested in the prior year and are 7 times more likely to be unaware of their HIV infection compared to other young MSM. This proposed research study seeks to address low HIV testing rates among young Black MSM by developing and testing a brief Internet-based HIV testing intervention optimized for mobile devices. The intervention takes advantage of the variety of HIV testing options now available, including the home-based HIV testing kit, MSM couples-based HIV counseling and testing and traditional clinic-based testing and will provide men with a tailored recommendation of their optimal HIV testing approach. The research will involve three phases. In Phase 1, we will conduct formative mixed-methods research. In-depth interviews and an on-line survey of young Black MSM will identify barriers and facilitators to HIV testing, assess perceptions of and preferences for available HIV testing approaches, and assess participant perspectives on the proposed intervention. Based on Phase 1 data and our Community Consulting Group, in Phase 2, we will develop the intervention. Focus groups with young Black MSM will be utilized to provide feedback on intervention acceptability during development. In Phase 3, we will conduct a pilot randomized study among young Black MSM followed for 6 months to estimate the intervention's potential efficacy in increasing HIV testing.
The HIV epidemic among young Black MSM in the US is an urgent public health problem. Regular HIV testing is critical to HIV prevention for persons at risk Research on HIV testing interventions, particularly among young Black MSM is limited. This proposed research will fill a gap in targeted, tailored, and culturally appropriate theory-based HIV testing interventions for young Black MSM.