Those Left Out: HIV Prevention For Black And Latino MSM

A Research Brief by: Miles Perry

MPMany black and Latino queer people are often left out of the already uncommon conversation surrounding LGBT healthcare. A mixture of racism, homophobia and prejudice has led to the disparities we see today regarding healthcare for queer people of color, especially when we speak about HIV/AIDs rates. Most of the issues around HIV rates are attributed to policies that don't address the social determinants of health. Healthcare specialists have started taking unique approaches to connect queer black and Latino people to HIV preventive measures. Given the current rate of HIV/AIDS,the CDC predicts that soon one half of black MSM and one fourth of Latino MSM will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. This is a startling statistic compared to the predicted one eleventh of white MSM it will effect. With preventives such as PrEP and PEP, there is no reason why there is such a large disparity.

Prior to PrEP and PEP most outreach efforts involved emphasizing the use of a condom. Large of amounts of government dollars went to health agencies to ensure that condoms were accessible in most places. However in states where the government is more right aligned this is not enough. States such as Michigan do not allow condoms to be distributed in high schools, which is a vulnerable population at risk of contracting HIV through unprotected sex. For example, Detroit, Michigan has a large LGBT, homeless, youth population who may benefit from receiving condoms at school.

Organizations geared towards queer people often use unconventional methods of outreach. The use of gay dating apps, vogue/ballroom scenes, and faith based organizations have all been used to lower the HIV rate for black and Latino queer people. Outreach through these areas would be effective because they are able to reach out to queer people who may not be out but still apart of the MSM population.

If funding was more readily available in the state for PrEP specialist teams, outreach could happen on a much wider scale. In Rochester, NY the LGBT health center known as Trillium Health uses it's PrEP team to do health outreach in several of the ways that were mentioned before except for utilizing faith based resources. These outreach efforts have been rather successful for Rochester. Trillium advertises heavily on gay dating apps by having multiple diverse people from the PrEP team on the apps to attract different populations.

A similar team could be implemented here in Michigan. Trillium Health center is limited in its ability to help queer black and Latino people because of their location. Even though Trillium Health programs are open to everyone, Trillium is in a predominantly white area which makes outreach through gay dating apps futile, since they will only show who is closest to you. An outreach team in Michigan would have to move around for better results and should consider outreaching through churches since there is a large religious community here.

More research on effective PrEP team activities and how they can target queer black and Latino people is needed. A push for states to increase funding to PrEP and have better sexual education laws would greatly aid the efforts of a PrEP team.