Jeffrey A. Kelly, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral medicine, and director of the Medical College’s Center for AIDS Intervention Research (CAIR), is the principal investigator for the grant.
About 56,000 Americans contract HIV every year. The disease has always taken a heavy toll on men who have sex with men, particularly African American men. Although this group represents only one percent of the nation’s population, it accounts for 25 percent of all new HIV infections in the United States.
Dr. Kelly’s aim for this study is to develop an intervention that is capable of reaching and preventing HIV among high-risk African American men who have sex with men in the community. Most existing approaches have relied on individual or small-group risk reduction counseling, and those approaches have been shown to have limited effectiveness, as members of that particular population have not sought counseling historically.
The research will compare the traditional testing, treatment and individual counseling to a new, social network-level intervention approach. The research seeks to identify an approach that could be used by public health service providers, health departments and community organizations concerned about AIDS.
The Center for AIDS Intervention Research at the Medical College is one of five HIV prevention research centers in the United States funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. CAIR’s missions are the development of improved ways to prevent HIV infection, the development of new approaches to improve the health of persons affected by HIV/AIDS, and disseminating its research findings to service providers in the United States and throughout the world so they directly benefit from CAIR’s work.
The center’s research also focuses on the prevention of adverse health and mental outcomes among those living with HIV infection and their loved ones. Monday, May 16, CAIR sponsored a day-long conference featuring presentations and discussions by several of the country’s leading research authorities in the field of HIV prevention among African American gay and bisexual men. The conference, “Moving Forward: The Next Generation of HIV Prevention Programs for Black Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM)” offered its free program to more than 250 professionals, volunteers, and interested community members.