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Am J Public Health. 1996 Aug;86(8):1129-36.

The Mpowerment Project: a community-level HIV prevention intervention for young gay men.

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  • 1Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco 94105, USA.



Since young gay men are engaging in alarmingly high rates of unsafe sex and few seek help for changing risky behaviors, community-level programs to prevent infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among them are urgently needed.


We developed and implemented a community-level HIV prevention program in a midsized Oregon community. The peer-led program had three components: out-reach, small groups, and a publicity campaign. Independently from the prevention program, a cohort of young gay men (n = 300) was surveyed in this and in a similar comparison community pre- and postintervention.


Following intervention, the proportion of men engaging in any unprotected anal intercourse decreased from 41.0% to 30.0% (-27% from baseline), decreased from 20.2% to 11.1% (-45% from baseline) with nonprimary partners, and decreased from 58.9% to 44.7% (-24% from baseline) with boyfriends. No significant changes occurred in the comparison community over the same period.


This prevention approach effectively led to HIV risk reduction. To reach risk-taking young gay men, HIV prevention activities must be embedded in social activities and community life.

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