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Refining an Implementation Strategy to Enhance the Reach of HIV-Prevention and Behavioral Health Treatments to Latino Men Who Have Sex with Men

Harkness A, Weinstein ER, Lozano A, Mayo D, Doblecki-Lewis S, Rodriguez Diaz CE, Brown CH, Prado G, Safren SA.

Implementation Research and Practice

Background: Latino men who have sex with men (LMSM) experience HIV and behavioral health disparities. Yet, evidence-based interventions, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and behavioral health treatments, have not been equitably scaled up to meet LMSM needs. To address quality of life and the public health importance of HIV prevention, implementation strategies to equitably scale up these interventions to LMSM need to be developed. This study identifies themes for developing culturally grounded implementation strategies to increase uptake of evidence-based HIV prevention and behavioral health treatments among LMSM.

Methods: Participants included 13 LMSM and 12 stakeholders in Miami, an HIV epicenter. Feedback regarding the content, design, and format of an implementation strategy to scale up HIV-prevention and behavioral health services to LMSM were collected via focus groups (N=3) and individual interviews (N=3). Themes were inductively identified across the Health Equity Implementation Framework (HEIF) domains.

Results: Analyses revealed five higher order themes regarding the design, content, and format of the implementation strategy: cultural context, relationships and networks, navigation of health information and systems, resources and models of service delivery, and motivation to engage. Themes were applicable across HEIF domains, meaning that the same theme could have implications for both the development and implementation of the implementation strategy.

Conclusions: Findings highlight the importance of addressing culturally specific factors, leveraging relational networks, facilitating navigation of health systems, tailoring to available resources, and building consumer and implementer motivation in order to refine an implementation strategy for reducing mental health burden and achieving HIV health equity among LMSM.

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