With NIH-funded study, Turpin seeks to increase use of HIV prevention methods by reducing stigmas

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Around the world and in Prince George’s County, Maryland, HIV remains an epidemic disproportionately affecting Black sexual minority men (BSMM). Prince George’s County is a county with a primarily Black population, and there are approximately three times the national prevalence (823 compared to 289 per 100,000) of diagnosed HIV cases.  

Assistant Professor Rodman Turpin’s research aims to reduce HIV among BSMM through improved access to and use of HIV prevention methods by focusing on decreasing internalized racism, homophobia, and stigma while increasing peer support. Through a $608,828 five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Turpin aims to increase the use of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), among Black sexual minority men in Prince George’s County. 

“Research has consistently shown racism and homophobia deter HIV prevention among Black sexual minority men. By addressing internalized racism, homophobia, and related stigma, we can increase uptake of PrEP,” said Turpin. 

He is using mixed methods and adapting the MPowerment model, a Centers for Disease Control-developed evidence-based intervention, peer-based model of intervention through peer-led activities and discussions.  

For the project, Turpin is collaborating with several Black sexual minority men’s community-based organizations, including the Gay Men’s Health Collaborative in Fairfax, VA, and Us Helping Us in Washington, D.C.