Men who have sex with men (MSM) are a key risk group in the United States and are disproportionately impacted in terms of HIV prevalence. The disparities experienced by MSM, and especially by Black and Hispanic MSM, are explicitly recognized in the National HIV AIDS Strategy, which calls for reducing disparities experienced by MSM, especially MSM of color. HIV testing is a key component of combination HIV prevention packages. Testing allows men to be aware of their HIV infection status and serves as a stepping stone to additional HIV prevention services, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis. Increasing testing rates among Black and Hispanic MSM is a key component to reducing disparities among these groups. We propose a comparative effectiveness study to assess the effects of two innovative strategies that combine online recruitment and testing promotion strategies to increase HIV testing in Black and Hispanic/Latino MSM. The two innovative strategies will be compared to a traditional recruiting strategy and comaprison condition involving providing information about HIV testing and testing locations. The recruitment methods will be a social networking and dating app targeted to MSM (Grindr) and advertisements on gay-related websites; these recruiting strategies will be compared to a non-innovative strategy of targeted Facebook advertising. Innovative testing promotion strategies will be an app-based HIV prevention portal (HealthMindr) and a mobile-optimized website (healthMpowerment). Our primary aims are to conduct formative research to develop culturally appropriate innovative recruiting and testing promotion strategies, conduct a comparative effectiveness study to assess the effectiveness of each strategy in black and Hispanic MSM, and to develop a translation and dissemination plan to support uptake of the resulting intervention strategies in state and local health departments and community-based organizations.
Black and Hispanic MSM are the most heavily impacted risk groups in the US HIV epidemic, but past studies have illustrated challenges with recruiting these men to uptake routine HIV testing. We propose a comparative effectiveness study to evaluate the relative performance of two strategies ? each based on an innovative, established internet-based platform ? to promote HIV testing among Black and Hispanic MSM.