A Training Program to Address HIV-Related Health Disparities in Men Who Have Sex With Men

Primary Investigator

Ron Stall

Project Funder

This project is supported by an T32 from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Project Description

Men who sex with men (MSM) continue to be disproportionately burdened by HIV/AIDS both domestically and globally. Due to the enormous disparities in HIV/AIDS diagnoses suffered by MSM, it has become abundantly clear that our ability to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic both within the United States and abroad depends upon the creation, dissemination and widespread uptake of a potent prevention response to the epidemic among MSM. Recent advances in HIV prevention science have demonstrated that prevention models that combine the best of biomedical and behavioral approaches to controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic could provide the potent response to the epidemic necessary to address the epidemic among MSM. However, both adherence and uptake of biomedical prevention tools are strongly influenced by the sociocultural contexts in which MSM reside, by psychosocial health conditions and syndemic processes and by individual-level characteristics such as socio-economic status. For these reasons, availability of biomedical advances in and of themselves will not end the epidemic, nor will they address the underlying processes that continue to fuel epidemics such as HIV/AIDS. Thus, without careful attention to the fielding of potent biomedical approaches to prevention, development of effective behavioral interventions to support adherence and requisite community health approaches to facilitate widespread uptake among MSM, the advances in HIV prevention that have emerged over the last five years will not change the course of the epidemic. The challenges associated with the creation and uptake of potent combination prevention responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic will certainly not be overcome unless we invest in the training of new generations of scholars who are committed to ending the epidemic among MSM.

This NIMH-funded institutional training grant, “A Training Program to Address HIV-related Health Disparities in MSM” is designed with the goal of leaving trainees with the necessary skill sets to not only launch their careers, but also to make a real difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS among MSM. By grounding this program within a leading School of Public Health, a research environment that is rich not only in terms of HIV prevention research but also with a strong tradition in LGBT health research, one that is strong in theoretical and empirical approaches to explaining risk among MSM and a strong focus in HIV global health and bio-behavioral research, an ideal environment has been created to train the next generation of HIV prevention scientists who will address the epidemic among MSM. This T32 training program within this extraordinarily rich environment continues to mentor the next generation of HIV prevention scientists who will be uniquely poised to find ways to end the epidemic among MSM.