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HIV Prevention Program for Young Gay and Bisexual Men Highlighted by the CDC

"SMART" with cartoon owl wearing a bowtieThe Centers for Disease Control (CDC) designated ISGMH’s SMART Sex Ed program as an evidence-informed intervention for HIV prevention, specifically regarding the increased uptake of PrEP among young sexual minority men ages 13-18.

SMART Sex Ed is an online sex education curriculum created specifically for young sexual minority men, a group that includes gay, bisexual, and queer men. The first component of the SMART Program, SMART Sex Ed teaches young men how to protect themselves and sexual partners from HIV and STI transmission, with information about PrEP, a highly effective method for preventing HIV.  The program’s series of online modules can be accessed anywhere in the US in both English and Spanish, and SMART Sex Ed enrolled nearly 1,000 participants over two years. Participants were more likely to use PrEP three months after completing SMART Sex Ed than they were before starting the program.

The program is the only HIV prevention intervention recommended by the CDC for PrEP uptake among adolescent sexual minority men, making it an especially powerful tool in ending the HIV epidemic.

“The timing if this CDC designation is critical. The US continues to observe a disproportionate number of new HIV diagnoses among young sexual minority men, especially among multiply marginalized adolescents who are also Black and Latino. SMART is an important tool for reducing new HIV diagnoses in this population because it addresses one of the great disservices done to these young men—the absence of affirmative and culturally relevant sex education in schools. SMART equips young sexual minority men with the information and skills they need to navigate sex and relationships with other men while also affirming their sexuality and personal experiences,” said Brian Mustanski, PhD, director of ISGMH and the SMART Sex Ed primary investigator.

The CDC’s “evidence-informed” designation is given to a small number of interventions that demonstrate significant effects on HIV-related outcomes in their target population.

Want to learn more about SMART?

Visit the SMART website.

Read “Effectiveness of the SMART Sex Ed program among 13-18 year old English and Spanish speaking adolescent men who have sex with men” in the scientific journal AIDS and Behavior.