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Many Men, Many Voices
In preparation for World AIDS Day 2012 (December 1st) we here at HealthyBlackMen.org have done a lot of work addressing the various issues surrounding HIV/AIDS in our community. Now, we’d like to dive deep into some of the interventions we think you should know about, like Many Men, Many Voices (3MV). It’s a group intervention program that addresses many factors that contribute to HIV risk taking.
We hold the 3MV program in high regard because it is proven to be effective in reducing HIV/AIDS risk behaviors of Black men who have sex with men (MSM). This group-level intervention strategy focuses on social, cultural, and religious factors that increase the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS in addition to behavioral factors. The 3MV program understands that no single determinant warrants exclusive attention over any others. 3MV also promotes an examination of how connected Black MSM feel to other individuals within Black and gay communities and the influence of racism and homophobia.
The program includes six 3-hour-long sessions offered during a weekend retreat. The first session focuses on how racism and homophobia contribute to sexually risky behaviors. The second deals with the dynamics of sexual relationships. The third session offers participants a wide range of prevention options that men can use in their own relationships. The fourth session focuses on getting men to commit to reducing their risk for HIV/AIDS and guides them in making safer choices. The fifth deals with the power dynamics present in relationships and encourages behavior changes negotiated with a sexual partner. And finally, the sixth session involves peer support and role-playing for the communications dealt with in the fifth session as well as identifying effective strategies to rebound from possible future relapses.
The 3MV program outlines its goals as increasing consistent use of condoms, reducing the number of sexual partners, and increasing testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. After following up with the initial sample of men completing the program, the 3MV program proved to be successful in its efforts. Participants reported more HIV testing, having fewer sexual partners, and increased condom use among casual sexual partners.
For more information about the 3MV program and other HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention programs, visit effectiveinterventions.org.
Luvaire Murrell is a writer and editor for healthyblackmen.org and our monthly newsletter. Mr. Murrell is experienced in marketing, public speaking, and research. He is also a published poet.