By: Eric Brus*—
The National Minority AIDS Council recently announced its new PrEPare for Life online resource page. The target audience for the resource is young gay men, in particular Black and Latino gay men between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. The PrEPare for Life site has a variety of educational materials about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), including peer-based educational videos, infographics to be shared on social media, and links to other PrEP resources. Training materials are also available to help community-based organizations educate their clients about PrEP. These materials include a training manual that is available in both English and Spanish, as well as a customizable PowerPoint presentation.
New NHIS Report Analyzes Health Data by Sexual Orientation
For the first time ever, the 2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) has included a measure of sexual orientation and provided a national estimate for indicators of health-related behaviors, health status, health care service utilization, and health care access by sexual orientation. A total of nearly 35,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 64 were included in 2013 survey. Of these, 96.6% identified as straight, 1.6% identified as gay or lesbian, and 0.7% identified as bisexual. It is worth noting that the survey collected information regarding sexual orientation rather than sexual identity. As a result, the survey report does not include data on the proportion of persons who identify as transgender and their associated health measures. [pullquote]The target audience for the resource is young gay men, in particular Black and Latino gay men between the ages of 18 and 25 years old.[/pullquote]
The survey found significant differences in health-related behaviors, health status, health care service utilization, and health care access by sexual orientation. For example, a higher proportion of adults identifying as gay or lesbian reported having ever been tested for HIV (68.7%), compared to those identifying as bisexual (53.5% ) or straight (41.7%).
Adults identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual were also more likely to be current smokers and to report having consumed five or more alcoholic drinks in one day at least once during the previous year. In addition, women identifying as lesbian or gay were less likely to have a regular place to go for medical care than straight women. Further, a higher percentage of bisexual adults reported that they failed to get needed medical care due to cost – a key measure of access to care. For a more extensive review of these and other findings, see the full report, Sexual Orientation and Health Among U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2013, from the National Center for Health Statistics.
International Study Looks at Links Between Sexual Stigma, Criminalization, Investment, and Access to HIV Services
In 2010, the Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF) conducted an online survey in which more than 3,300 gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) worldwide provided information about their access to HIV services. In this new analysis of the survey data, MSMGF researchers explored associations between access to HIV services and 1) individual-level perceived sexual stigma; 2) country-level criminalization of homosexuality; and 3) country-level investment in HIV services for MSM.
For their analysis, the researchers categorized the home countries of the survey participants according to their policies regarding criminalization of homosexuality and their investment in HIV services targeting MSM. The researchers found:
- Lower access to condoms, lubricants, and HIV testing were each associated with greater perceived sexual stigma, existence of homosexuality criminalization policies, and less investment in HIV services.
- Lower access to HIV treatment was associated with greater perceived sexual stigma and criminalization.
- Criminalization of homosexuality and low investment in HIV services were both associated with greater perceived sexual stigma.
The report authors conclude, “Our findings indicate that disparities in HIV incidence and prevalence related to poor access to HIV services among MSM require a multilevel response. Specifically, collaborations are needed that work to find ways to reduce and ultimately eradicate expressions of sexual stigma at policy, institutional, community, and individual levels. Toward this aim, researchers, community groups, community-based organizations, legislators, and funders who aim to improve sexual health of MSM must work together to confront sexual stigma, eradicate criminalization of homosexual behavior, and increase investment in HIV services for MSM to effectively enhance access to these lifesaving services.” [pullquote]The report authors conclude, “Our findings indicate that disparities in HIV incidence and prevalence related to poor access to HIV services among MSM require a multilevel response.[/pullquote]
MSMGF and Johns Hopkins University Launch New Gay Men’s Health Curriculum for Healthcare Providers
The Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF) and Johns Hopkins University have unveiled a new international training curriculum designed to increase the cultural competency and clinical skills that healthcare providers need to meet the health needs of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). According to MSMGF, the curriculum content “was shaped and guided by a group of 15 technical experts, scientists, physicians, psychologists, program implementers, and community members from around the world.” The document consists of the following nine modules:
- Understanding Gay Men and Other MSM
- Sexuality and Health
- Barriers to Health
- Creating a Friendlier Environment
- Promoting Mental Health
- Taking a Sexual History
- Supporting Gay Men and Other MSM Who Use Drugs and Alcohol
- Interventions for HIV and STI Prevention
- Clinical Care for HIV and other STIs
Downloadable decks of PowerPoint slides are available for each module, together with basic guidance concerning facilitation techniques and training evaluation tools.
News Coverage from the 2014 International AIDS Conference
The largest HIV/AIDS event of the year – the 2014 International AIDS Conference (2014 IAC) – took place between July 20 and 25 in Melbourne, Australia. To help people navigate the flood of news coverage, research findings, and opinions arising from the conference, the staff of AIDS Action’s Health Library have created a special 2014 IAC web page on the Library website.
The IAC page has more than 150 links to articles, reports, blog items, and videos. The materials have been grouped into topic areas to help you find and quickly access the information of greatest interest to you. The main topic areas include:
- Conference Overview and Highlights
- The Global Epidemic (including prevention and treatment goals, funding, and access to care)
- Affected Population Groups and Health Disparities
- HIV Prevention, Transmission, and Testing
- HIV Treatment
- Research Toward an HIV Cure
- Living with HIV
- Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection
*Eric Brus is the Director of HIV Health Promotion of AIDS Action Committee. This report is produced by the Health Library of the AIDS Action Committee in collaboration with the New England AIDS Education and Training Center Minority AIDS Initiative Project. The full version is available online.