HIV Big Deal

HIV Big Deal is a national interactive video series that was developed by Public Health Solutions (PHS) in response to the continuing HIV epidemic among gay men. Although the introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 1996 dramatically reduced both the incidence of AIDS and the number of deaths due to AIDS, the incidence of HIV infection has not declined. An estimated 50,000 new HIV infections have occurred annually in the United States since the early 2000s, and 60% of the newly diagnosed infections are in gay men. This steady rate of infection combined with declining mortality due to AIDS has resulted in a growing number of people living with HIV, many of them gay men.

HIV Big Deal encourages and motivates gay men to make safer choices in their sex lives. Our video series features relatable main characters in compelling stories who deal with dating, sex, HIV testing, disclosure of HIV status, and use of PrEP. This innovative tool also helps users find PrEP providers and HIV testing sites and care centers throughout the U.S.

Video Information Provider for HIV-Associated Non-AIDS (VIP-HANA) Symptoms (NIH; 09/01/2015 – 08/31/2020).

The goal of this Columbia University study is to develop and test an intervention, the VIP-HANA system, a web application that delivers self-care strategies tailored to symptom reporting, HANA condition(s) and by gender, among people living with HIV. PHS is a collaborator on this study.

Mobile Messaging Intervention to Present New HIV Prevention Options for MSM (CDC; 09/01/2015 – 08/31/2019).

In collaboration with the CDC, Emory University, PHS, the University of Michigan, and the University of Minnesota, the study will develop a new set of HIV prevention messages based on rigorous preliminary qualitative studies, and reflecting the current age of combination biomedical and behavioral prevention.

Culture and HIV Risk in a Diverse Population (09/25/15 – 06/30/2019; NIH Columbia subcontract to PHS)

A critical aspect of sexual behavior among YMSM is the process of sexual socialization – the process by which individuals gain knowledge, attitudes, and norms about sexuality, sexual behavior, and sexual risk. Sexual scripts theory provides a framework to understand how individuals receive cultural scenarios from external sources (cultural scripts), interpret them (intrapsychic scripts), and enact them with sexual partners (interpersonal scripts). To understand this phenomenon and inform the development of, and improve existing interventions for YMSM, the study will interview an ethnically diverse sample of 160 urban YMSM 16-25. The study team will examine sources of sexual information retrospectively (lifetime and 6 months prior to study enrollment) and prospectively (6, 12, and 18 months following study enrollment).

Scale-up of an Internet-delivered Randomized Controlled Trial for HIV+ Men (Sex Positive!) (NIH; 01/01/2014 – 12/31/2017).

PHS conducted an online video-based intervention for HIV+ men who have sex with men (MSM) who have unprotected anal sex with partners who are HIV-negative or who do not know their HIV status. The goal of the intervention is to reduce condomless anal sex with HIV-negative or unknown status partners in order to prevent possible HIV transmission.

Using Technology to Match Young Black MSM to HIV Testing Options (NIH; 07/01/2013 – 10/30/2017).

The aims of the grant are: 1) to develop a brief Internet-based intervention for young, HIV-negative or never-tested Black MSM and transgender women optimized for mobile devices (e.g., smart phones, tablets) to increase HIV testing. This study is being conducted by the New York Blood Center in collaboration with PHS and SUNY Binghamton.

Special Projects of National Significance Program (SPNS) (HRSA; 09/01/2012 – 08/31/2017).

Community Healthcare Network (CHN) is implementing the Transgender Women Engagement and Entry to Care Project (TWEET Care Project) at the Family Health Center in Jamaica, Queens. There are nine sites conducting this important project across the US.

PrEP, is it for Me? (2015-16).

This online video campaign addresses three specific areas related to the use of PrEP by MSM at risk for HIV: 1) knowledge of PrEP- what it is, how it works, and where you get it; 2) concerns about potential side effects, both physical and psychological, e.g. risk disinhibition; 3) psychosocial barriers related to PrEP adherence and sex shaming by other gay men and those generally critical of the gay community.

Virtual Venues: Examining HIV risk perception and management on- and off-line among men who have sex with men in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (2015).

This project examines the risk behavior and country-context embedded in the online experiences of Ivoirian MSM and travestis, whose use of the Internet is understudied and asks how a sex-seeking venue impacts the ways in which men manage and perceive their risk for HIV.

The Community Health Advisory & Information Network (CHAIN)

An ongoing prospective study of representative samples of persons living with HIV/AIDS in New York City and the Tri-County region of Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties. CHAIN is conducted by researchers from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in collaboration with the NYCDOHMH, PHS, and the Westchester County DOH as part of evaluation activities of the New York Health and Human Services Planning Council. Its mission is to supply systematic data from the perspective of persons living with HIV about their needs for health and human services, their encounters with the full continuum of HIV services, and their physical, mental and social wellbeing. PHS Chairs and staffs the Technical Review Team that manages CHAIN. View CHAIN Reports.

Viewer Attitudes about PrEP Use in Sexually Explicit Media (PrEVIEW) (Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. 01/01/2015 – 12/31/2015).

Advances in HIV treatment and biomedical prevention (i.e., pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP) have made it possible for SEM producers to meet consumer demands for videos featuring condomless sex. However, research is needed to better understand viewer perceptions about the current state of SEM (e.g., potential normalization of viewing high-risk behavior), awareness of PrEP, and attitudes toward PrEP uptake in the SEM industry. Online, we will recruit and survey approximately 1,500 men and women in the U.S., stratified by sexual orientation, about these issues.

Staphylococcal skin and soft tissue infections in MSM: An internet-based quantitative and qualitative investigation and US-wide study of molecular epidemiology (Columbia University- 07/01/2013 – 06/30/2015).

PHS collaborated with Columbia University Medical Center on an online health-related survey for MSM, which involved home self-collection of swabs to test for staph isolates.

Evaluation of Rapid HIV Self-Testing among MSM in High Prevalence Cities (eSTAMP) (CDC; 09/01/2011 – 08/31/2015).

This CDC-supported research initiative will guide the development of public-health policy and programs on the dissemination and use of OTC rapid oral HIV self-tests and will assist in developing future research and program needs concerning self-testing for MSM to help identify undiagnosed HIV infection and promote linkage to care.