LINX LA is a technology platform dedicated to addressing HIV stigma through building a safe, private social support network for people living with HIV.
One of the major challenges of reaching Black men who have sex with men (BMSM) for social services and health interventions is connecting these men with community-based or neighborhood-specific services.
Some research suggests that disparities in HIV exist because YMSM are less likely to identify as gay or bisexual or less likely to participate in predominantly white gay settings compared to their White and Latino peers. Therefore, they are less likely to occupy venues where HIV interventions have traditionally targeted gay social spaces (e.g., bars and clubs) which leads some BMSM to remain hidden within their neighborhoods.
Among people living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles County, BMSM also face specific challenges getting into HIV care and staying in care. This indicates that regardless of serostatus, locating BMSM to deliver HIV interventions that will be culturally congruent and effective is central to addressing HIV disparities.
Dr. Holloway’s preliminary research found that MSM in Los Angeles County travel to predominantly white gay neighborhoods on nights that are specifically specified for men of color.
Meeting the challenge of reaching BMSM requires innovative outreach to both Black neighborhoods and predominantly white gay neighborhoods, using methods that enable maximum privacy.
Mobile apps permit individuals access to HIV interventions through their personal smartphones, ensuring greater privacy.
The focus of LINX LA Study is on linkage to appropriate HIV, social and legal services among BMSM ages 18 and over and residing in Los Angeles County. Participants in this study play an integral role in adapting a mobile application HIV intervention for BMSM and facilitate linkage to appropriate and relevant HIV services.
California HIV/AIDS Research Program
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Researchers: Ian W. Holloway, Ayako Miyashita Ochoa
Location: Los Angeles County
Sample: 125 African American men who have sex with men living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles County