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YMSM Project Newsletter – July 2015

Advocates for Youth Newsletter

Experiences in HIV Testing and Health Care in Philadelphia: YMSM

The Philadelphia HIV Prevention Planning Group (HPG) provides community feedback to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s AIDS Activities Coordinating Office (AACO) HIV prevention policies and program/system planning. The HPG requested that the Office of HIV Planning conduct focus groups with YMSM (and other at-risk populations) in order to better target HIV testing and prevention services in culturally competent and accessible ways. Successful diagnosis and linkage to HIV treatment requires meeting the medical, emotional, and social needs of individuals. The purpose of this study is to assess the individual-level, provider-level and system-level barriers experienced by YMSM in order to better understand how these barriers affect at-risk YMSM’s use of healthcare and HIV testing and prevention services. The study findings have informed the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s planning and delivery of HIV prevention, testing, and treatment services. This article highlights gaps in HIV service provision for black and Latino YMSM in Philadelphia, as well as potential solutions and actions that may be replicated for Strategy 4. To read this article, click here.


Capacity Building and Professional Development

2015 National Sex Ed Conference. The Center for Sex Education has been hosting an annual Sex Ed Conference since 1985. What started as a one-day conference for New Jersey health educators has grown into the largest conference in the United States that is exclusively devoted to sexuality education. Participants attend from across the nation and many other parts of the world to network and learn best practices in sexuality education, addressing a spectrum of topics, audiences, and ages. The Center for Sex Education is pleased to announce the chair and associate chairs for this year’s National Sex Ed Conference, which will be held December 9-11, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, New Brunswick, NJ. Karen Rayne, PhD, will be returning as the chair; she will be joined by Jennifer A. Hart, MPH, and Lorena Olvera-Moreno, MEd, who will serve as associate chairs. To learn more and to register for this conference click here.

National HIV Prevention Conference Abstracts Have Re-Opened! Late breaker abstract submission for the 2015 National HIV Prevention Conference (NHPC) will open on July 8th! Late breaker abstract submissions will be due by July 31, 2015. Authors and coauthors should submit their abstracts into clearance by the deadline established by their Associate Director for Science. Only individual oral and panel presentation abstracts will be considered. As in years past, late breaker abstracts are intended for data not previously available. Late breaker abstract acceptance will be highly competitive. To learn more, click here.

Standards for Identifying Evidence-Based Practices in Reproductive Health. This webinar, based on work conducted by the STEP UP consortium, the Evidence Project, the High Impact Practices (HIP) initiative, and the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, will address use of appropriate standards of evidence for recommending best practices in family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH). The webinar will focus on generation and synthesis of evidence that can inform the production of HIP briefs and practice recommendations that go beyond considering only randomized control trials as strong evidence. The webinar being held on July 30, 2015, will have Dr. Ian Askew who will discuss recommendations that emerged from a consultation on developing standards of evidence for recommending FP/RH practices and Dr. Nhan Tran will discuss the benefits and challenges of implementation research that links researchers and implementers as partners in conducting research. Dr. Patrick Aboagye will serve as discussant from his perspective as an evidence user in the Ghana Health Service. To learn more and to register for this webinar, click here.


CDC Releases Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2015. With more than 20 million cases of STDs occurring in the United States each year, it is critical for healthcare providers to have access to scientifically-sound, evidence-based diagnostic, treatment, and prevention recommendations to help reduce the burden of these infections. When conducting trainings with providers and during implementation of sexual health education with black and Latino YMSM, treatment options are important to highlight to empower young men to have candid conversations with their providers about treatment options. To access this document, click here.

New Online Resource Center Launches for HIV Care Providers. In March 2015, Act Against AIDS’ HIV Screening. Standard Care. campaign launched a new resource center for HIV care providers. Produced in partnership with the American Journal of Medicine, the new resource center provides HIV-screening campaign materials, interactive video, access to free peer-reviewed journal articles and materials; and highlights continuing medical education (CME) opportunities for HIV care providers. Patients diagnosed through routine HIV screening are able to benefit from medical treatment, which has been proven to reduce morbidity and mortality, and to avoid unintentionally transmitting HIV to others. HIV Screening. Standard Care. offers a variety of resources for providers—as well as materials for patients—to help encourage universal testing for HIV. As you plan Strategy 4, Year 3trainings and professional development opportunities for school staff and wellness center service providers this online toolkit can serve as a resource to inform your service provision to black and Latino YMSM students. To access this toolkit, click here.


Association of Discrimination-Related Trauma With Sexual Risk Among HIV-Positive African American Men. Who Have Sex With Men This article focuses on whether one form of traumatic stress, discrimination-related trauma (e.g., physical assault because of race), was associated with unprotected anal intercourse, especially when compared with non-discrimination-related trauma, among African American men who have sex with men. The research found that African American men living with HIV experience high-level discrimination-related trauma, which is associated with greater risk taking. These findings are important to keep in mind when addressing HIV prevention and discrimination-based trauma within the young African American MSM community as well. As Strategy 4 LEAs are developing and refining modules for their young men’s group, the information from this study can help guide the conversations around trauma that black YMSM face in their own lives. Findings from this research can be presented during school staff PD trainings for Year 3. To access the article, click here.

The MyPEEPS randomized controlled trial: a pilot of preliminary efficacy, feasibility, and acceptability of a group-level, HIV risk reduction intervention for young men who have sex with men. An exigent need exists for HIV prevention intervention research targeting YMSM-a group of young adults that, despite composing the highest and most racially disproportionate rates of HIV incidence, have been least often the focus of behavioral intervention research. This pilot study tested a group-based HIV primary prevention intervention for young MSM to evaluate its initial efficacy, feasibility, and acceptability. Participants were randomized (N = 101; aged 16–20 years) to one of two group-level, HIV and STI education programs: controls participated in a non-interactive, lecture-based program, while intervention participants took part in a highly interactive program tailored to YMSM aged 16–20. Sexual risk and social cognitive outcomes were assessed at baseline, 6-, and 12-weeks post-intervention. Over the entire follow-up period, intervention participants were less likely than controls to engage in any sexual behavior while under the influence of substances (p < .05), and a decreasing trend in unprotected anal sex while under the influence of substances was also observed in this group (p = .08). Follow-up differences between groups on social cognitive outcomes favored the intervention group, though these differences were non-significant. Acceptability ratings were modest. A 6-session behavioral intervention tailored to YMSM, aged 16–20, is feasible, acceptable, and demonstrates evidence of preliminary efficacy in reducing sexual risk, specifically sexual risk while under the influence of substances. To read more about this study, click here.

Transitions in Body and Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Study on the Relationship between Pubertal Development and Adolescent Sexual Behavior. This article focuses on contrasting and combing results from several studies of the correlation between sexual behavior and puberty. The results often showed that adolescents who started puberty at an earlier age, as well as those farther in their pubertal status, were more likely to have/have had sexual intercourse, as well as engage in non-coital sexual behavior (kissing, touching, petting, etc.). The article also explores the social influences of puberty and how it relates to sexual behavior, such as how sexuality in adolescent boys is viewed differently from sexuality in adolescent girls. This research is important because it gives us a general timeline of common adolescent sexual behavior. When providing sexual health education to 13-19 year old YMSM, it is imperative to address physiological changes that occur during puberty and sexual debut. The content from this article reinforces the need to address sexual health topics at younger ages within school settings to offset the negative effects that may occur when engaging in intercourse. To read this article, click here.

Announcements and News

Answer’s Online Professional Development Portal. Answer’s dynamic and highly interactive online professional development workshops allow you to set your own pace while learning about teen sexuality. You have one month to complete each workshop at times that are convenient for your busy schedule. Participants who complete one of our self-directed workshops receive six hours of professional development credit. Each online workshop is also approved for six category one CHES credits by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). The registration fee is $150 per workshop and group discounts are available. To learn more and register for these professional development opportunities, click here.

The Children’s Health and Education Mapping Tool. This tool will allow users to harness the power of geographic information systems (GIS) technology for data-driven decision-making. County-level data can be searched, mapped, downloaded, and compared, and high need areas can be identified. Schools and school-based health centers (SBHCs) can be mapped, filtered, and key characteristics can be displayed. This tool will be released in fall of 2015. To learn more about the Mapping Tool, click here.



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