Community Targeting of High Risk Minority Males Improves HIV Detection and Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Robin Lin Miller, Ph.D. Professor, Ecological-Community Psychology Co-Director, MA in Program Evaluation Chair, Graduate Program in Ecological-Community Psychology Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 48824

Dr. Miller

Robin Lin Miller, Ph.D.
Professor, Ecological-Community Psychology
Co-Director, MA in Program Evaluation
Chair, Graduate Program in Ecological-Community Psychology
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We wanted to identify promising strategies for providing access to HIV-testing for gay and bisexual male youth. We were especially interested in testing strategies to reach gay and bisexual male youth of color, as they bear a disproportionate burden of the HIV epidemic and are the least likely to be aware of their HIV status. We also wanted to explore approaches to successfully link these youth with HIV-negative test results to diverse HIV prevention services, including pre-exposure prophylaxis, when warranted.

Although some argue that the ideal place to test adolescents and young adults is via emergency rooms and in routine medical care visits, we found that we were able test many more youth with previously undiagnosed HIV-infection through intensive, targeted community outreach efforts. We also tested a much higher proportion of young men of color through targeted outreach.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Over 9 months about 6% of the young gay and bisexual men we tested through outreach were HIV infected. We identified less than 1% of infected young men through routine clinical encounters in places such as the ER. We linked over 98% of these youth to medical care successfully. Those we tested via tailored, age-appropriate community outreach efforts were also most likely to accept linkage to HIV prevention services than young men tested through routine clinical interactions. We believe offering testing routinely to young gay and bisexual men encountered in clinical care environments remains critically important. But our findings suggest locally tailored outreach to young men at high-risk is an essential complement, if we are to succeed in identifying undiagnosed infections among the youngest gay and bisexual men and link them to an appropriate array of evidence-based HIV prevention and care services.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: We believe offering testing routinely to young gay and bisexual men encountered in clinical care environments remains critically important. But our findings suggest locally tailored outreach to young men at high-risk is an essential complement, if we are to succeed in identifying undiagnosed infections among the youngest gay and bisexual men and link them to an appropriate array of evidence-based HIV prevention and care services.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Going forward, research should examine in detail the specific features that make any particular HIV-testing strategy acceptable to high-risk young men and enable their successful linkage to HIV prevention

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Miller RL, Boyer CB, Chiaramonte D, Lindeman P, Chutuape K, Cooper-Walker B, Kapogiannis BG, Wilson CM, Fortenberry JD. Evaluating Testing Strategies for Identifying Youths With HIV Infection and Linking Youths to Biomedical and Other Prevention Services. JAMA Pediatr. Published online April 17, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.0105

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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