A community, clinic
and university partnership launched this program to provide education,
peer support, counseling and case management to gay and bisexual male
adolescents between 13 and 21 years of age, who are at high risk for
HIV/ AIDS. The program begins with an initial two hour interview for
individualized HIV/AIDS risk assessment and risk reduction counseling.
Youth then participate in a 90-minute interactive peer education program
designed to provide clear, factual information in an atmosphere of
mutual support. The program's lessons are reinforced in an educational
video. Optional peer support groups meet weekly, if youth wish to
attend. Finally, there is a one-hour follow-up visit for reassessment
and referrals, as needed, to medical and social services. A field
study of the program was conducted with a predominantly white sample
of males, ages 13-21, who identified themselves as gay or bisexual.
Following the intervention, the 139 participants reported less frequent
unprotected anal intercourse and more frequent use of condoms. A reduction
in substance abuse, particularly amphetamines and amyl nitrate, was
This program can
be implemented by a variety of clinics and community-based organizations
serving gay and bisexual teens, providing that necessary medical and
social services are available for referrals.
The original sample
included 139 males, ages 13 to 21 years (avg.= 19.3 yrs.).
75% White, 14% African-American, 4% Asian American, 3% Latino,
3% Native American.
The basic program
includes 3 1/2 hours of activities: a two-hour risk assessment interview
and a 90-minute peer education session. Meetings of the peer support
groups follow the education sessions; participation in these groups
is optional. Three to six months after the basic intervention, a one-hour
follow-up assessment is scheduled.
One peer educator
(18 to 22 years old) is recommended for every four teens; these educators
must be well-informed about issues pertinent to gay and bisexual youth.
Training includes background information on HIV/AIDS, as well as practice
in facilitating group discussions. A psychologist, physician or social
worker is needed to perform the risk assessments. Additional professional
staff (e.g., physicians, vocational counselors) should be on call
to provide necessary services.