Community involvement has played a central role in the tight against HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. Volunteers and activists led the first prevention and care efforts in their communities. In the process of mobilizing, they became educated about HIV/AIDS, developed a sense of community and a positive self-identity, and mobilized their social support to cope with the epidemic. Thus, individuals' community involvement has critical public health implications. First, through their involvement in HIV/AIDS-related organizations, individuals develop a positive sense of themselves and become educated about HIV/AIDS. Second, via this involvement individuals affect change in their communities. Yet, research and prevention programs have overlooked community involvement as a mechanism to reduce HIV/AIDS sexual risk behavior among minority gay/bisexual men. The overall goal of the proposed research program is to investigate the protective effects of community involvement in HIV/AIDS-related groups and organizations for HIV/AIDS sexual risk behavior among Latino gay/bisexual men.
The specific aims i nclude: 1. Examine the protective effects of community involvement in HIV/AIDS for Latino gay/bisexual men's sexual risk behavior. We will test the moderating effects of community involvement on the association between three socio-structural risk factors (i.e., poverty, racism, and homophobia) and sexual risk behavior. 2. Refine and test a model of the mediating factors (i.e., peer norms, self-efficacy, positive self-identity, and alienation) of the association between community involvement and HIV/AIDS sexual risk behavior. 3. Examine the socio-cultural barriers to and facilitators of Latino gay/bisexual men's community involvement in HIV/AIDS. This research will be conducted in three phases in Chicago and San Francisco. 1. Using life history methods we will define the concept of community involvement in HIV/AIDS and refine our theoretical models. 2. We will develop and test measures. 3. We will test the protective effects community involvement (Aim I), the model of the mediating factors (Aim 2), and the barriers/facilitators for community involvement (Aim 3) in a cross-sectional survey of Latino gay/bisexual men (N=600).

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-AARR-8 (01))
Program Officer
Steinberg, Louis H
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University of Illinois at Chicago
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
United States
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Molina, Yamile; Dirkes, Jessica; Ramirez-Valles, Jesus (2017) Burnout in HIV/AIDS Volunteers: A Socio-Cultural Analysis among Latino Gay, Bisexual Men, and Transgender People. Nonprofit Volunt Sect Q 46:1231-1249
Ramirez-Valles, Jesus; Kuhns, Lisa M; Vázquez, Raquel et al. (2014) Getting Involved: Exploring Latino GBT Volunteerism and Activism in AIDS and LGBT Organizations. J Gay Lesbian Soc Serv 26:18-36
Ramirez-Valles, Jesus; Kuhns, Lisa M; Manjarrez, Dianna (2014) Tal Como Somos/just as we are: an educational film to reduce stigma toward gay and bisexual men, transgender individuals, and persons living with HIV/AIDS. J Health Commun 19:478-92
Ramirez-Valles, Jesus; Molina, Yamile; Dirkes, Jessica (2013) Stigma towards PLWHA: the role of internalized homosexual stigma in Latino gay/bisexual male and transgender communities. AIDS Educ Prev 25:179-89
Ramirez-Valles, Jesus; Kuhns, Lisa M; Campbell, Richard T et al. (2010) Social integration and health: community involvement, stigmatized identities, and sexual risk in Latino sexual minorities. J Health Soc Behav 51:30-47
Ramirez-Valles, Jesus; Garcia, Dalia; Campbell, Richard T et al. (2008) HIV infection, sexual risk behavior, and substance use among Latino gay and bisexual men and transgender persons. Am J Public Health 98:1036-42
Garcia, Dalia I; Gray-Stanley, Jennifer; Ramirez-Valles, Jesus (2008) ""The priest obviously doesn't know that I'm gay"": the religious and spiritual journeys of Latino gay men. J Homosex 55:411-36
Kuhns, L M; Vazquez, R; Ramirez-Valles, J (2008) Researching special populations: retention of Latino gay and bisexual men and transgender persons in longitudinal health research. Health Educ Res 23:814-25
Ramirez-Valles, Jesus; Heckathorn, Douglas D; Vazquez, Raquel et al. (2005) From networks to populations: the development and application of respondent-driven sampling among IDUs and Latino gay men. AIDS Behav 9:387-402
Ramirez-Valles, Jesus; Brown, Amanda Uris (2003) Latinos' community involvement in HIV/AIDS: organizational and individual perspectives on volunteering. AIDS Educ Prev 15:90-104