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Study Title: PrEP US NoW: PrEP Utilization through Increasing Social Capital Among YBMSM Networks with Women
Principle Investigators: Latesha Elopre (University of Alabama at Birmingham) and Sophia Hussen (Emory University)
Co-Investigators: Dr. Michael Mugavero (UAB), Janet Turan (UAB), Lisa Hightow-Weidman (UNC), John Schneider (University of Chicago), and Dustin Long (UAB)

Description/Purpose: HIV, especially in the South, disproportionately affects young Black men who have sex with men (YBMSM). Development and implementation of effective interventions to scale up HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) are urgently needed in this population. Prior work has focused on individual-level approaches to increasing PrEP utilization, while social network-level approaches are comparatively underutilized. Individuals within social networks have access to social capital, which can yield emotional as well as instrumental resources that influence health behaviors. Black women represent a key source of social capital within YBMSM social networks, and this unique role has not been utilized in prior PrEP interventions. We propose to leverage YBMSM’s supportive connections with Black women to develop PrEP US NoW (PrEP Utilization through increasing Social Capital among YBMSM Networks with Women), a novel mobile health intervention that will engage Black women as facilitators in existing networks of YBMSM, as a way of enhancing social capital, decreasing intersectional stigma, and promoting PrEP uptake within the network. The central feature of the PrEP US NoW intervention will be real-time, virtual discussions led by a trained Black woman facilitator, delivered to an existing network of YBMSM. This study will be conducted in an epicenter of the Southern HIV epidemic: Alabama.