Introductory paper describing the Black MSM Initiative and the protocol for the multisite evaluation.
Background: The HIV epidemic in the United States disproportionately affects Black communities. Nearly half of Black men who have sex with men (MSM) will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. There is a significant unmet need for behavioral health care services among Black MSM, and untreated behavioral health needs make it less likely the person is retained in HIV care.
Objective: This paper offers a description of the Implementation of Evidence-Informed Behavioral Health Models to Improve HIV Health Outcomes for Black Men who have Sex with Men (Black MSM) Initiative, a program to integrate clinical care and behavioral health/supportive services for Black MSM with HIV. The Black MSM Initiative is funded through the Health Resources & Services Administration HIV/AIDS Bureau Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part F Special Projects of National Significance.
Methods: The components of the Black MSM Initiative include providing technical assistance to 8 Initiative demonstration sites; conducting a comprehensive and culturally responsive, mixed method, multisite evaluation; and disseminating evaluation findings and lessons learned to the RWHAP community.
Results: As of December 31, 2020, demonstration sites enrolled 809 clients in the multisite evaluation. The research team will continue evaluation data collection through December 2021 for analysis and dissemination starting in 2022. The Black MSM Initiative fully supports the US Department of Health and Human Services' Ending the HIV Epidemic in the United States Initiative.
Conclusions: In order to succeed, providers and programs will need to engage populations traditionally considered "hard to reach," like many people receiving RWHAP services. Findings and lessons learned from the Black MSM Initiative will expand the tool kit of solutions to support and retain Black MSM in HIV care, furthering the goals of the Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative and the RWHAP.
- Hodge S, Johnson-Turbes A, Flemming S, Passero M, Tinsley M, Iheanyichukwu T, The Black MSM Initiative Study Group. Implementation of Evidence-Informed Behavioral Health Models to Improve HIV Health Outcomes for Black Men Who Have Sex With Men (Black MSM Initiative): Protocol for Program Evaluation. JMIR Res Protoc 2022;11(7):e36025