Scaling Up and Out HIV Prevention and Behavioral Health Services to Latino Sexual Minority Men in South Florida: Multi-Level Implementation Barriers, Facilitators, and Strategies

This article was originally published here

AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2021 May;35(5):167-179. doi: 10.1089/apc.2021.0018.


Latino sexual minority men (LSMM) are disproportionately affected by HIV in the United States. Concurrently, behavioral health disparities, including mental health and substance use concerns, worsen HIV disparities affecting LSMM. Yet, evidence-based HIV prevention and behavioral health services are insufficiently scaled up and out to this population, perpetuating health disparities, thwarting efforts to control the HIV epidemic, and highlighting the need for culturally relevant evidence-based implementation strategies that address these disparities. Participants included 28 LSMM with varying degrees of engagement in HIV prevention and behavioral health services, and 10 stakeholders with experience delivering HIV prevention and behavioral health services to LSMM in South Florida, an HIV epicenter in general and in particular for LSMM. Participants completed semistructured interviews (English/Spanish) regarding LSMM’s barriers and facilitators to engaging in HIV prevention and behavioral health services. Interviews were audio recorded and analyzed using thematic analysis. The 16 themes that emerged from the qualitative analysis were consistent with the consolidated framework for implementation research, an implementation research framework that articulates barriers and facilitators to implementing clinical interventions. Findings suggested the need for implementation strategies that simplify and reduce costs of HIV prevention and behavioral health services, address syndemic challenges impacting service use among LSMM, reduce stigma about service utilization, leverage peer networks, increase provider and community knowledge about services, and build LSMM’s readiness and motivation to engage in services. Such strategies may ultimately address HIV and behavioral health disparities among LSMM and facilitate achievement of ending the HIV epidemic goals in this disproportionally affected population.

PMID:33960844 | DOI:10.1089/apc.2021.0018