University of Michigan SPH’s Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities (SexLab) has been awarded a three-year, one million dollar grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify and implement innovative community strategies to reduce sexually transmitted infections experienced by young men who have sex with men in Southeast Michigan. The award is part of the highly competitive CDC Community Approaches to Reducing Sexually Transmitted Diseases (CARS) initiative, and supports the planning, implementation, and evaluation of interdisciplinary interventions to promote community sexual health.
[Dr. Jose Bauermeister]
“Social and institutional factors, such as lack of social services and barriers to accessing HIV/STI prevention and health care, can fuel the epidemic,” says Dr. Jose Bauermeister, John G. Searle Assistant Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education and principal investigator on the grant. “These factors are inextricably intertwined. If we can improve one area of the system, it has the potential to ripple throughout and spark much needed community mobilization and change.”
Based on 2012 Michigan County Health Department data, six of nine counties in the greater Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint area account for the majority of new HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis cases in the state. A large proportion of these cases are diagnosed among young men who have sex with men who are ages 15-29.
SexLab will enhance awareness of the STI disparity among these young men, promote collaborations between multiple sectors, identify new opportunities for STI prevention and care service delivery, and enable access to culturally humble and sensitive services. In year one of the project, the research team will convene a coalition of stakeholders from multiple sectors to identify routine public health control measures that can influence STI prevention and care in Southeast Michigan. During years two and three of the project, strategies will be implemented and evaluated aimed at reducing STI disparities among this population.
“A three-fold approach of awareness, collaboration, and access provides a framework that will guide our community coalition,” explains Dr. Bauermeister. “Our aim is to implement a comprehensive program that is efficient, culturally appropriate, and responsive to the needs of young men who have sex with men in Southeast Michigan.”