Martin Luther King MemorialAIDS 2018 PosterMenCount TeamAAMTeam Represent Staff at AIDS 2018


“The police is the forefront of what’s going on down here 24 hours a day… You can’t see the AIDS coming, you focus on what you’re dealing with here, your surroundings.”            Menhood focus group participant

“I would say today the Black man, I got 99 problems and I sure ain’t thinking about HIV at the end of the day.”           Menhood focus group participant

The Black Men's Neighborhood, HIV risk, and Resilience Study

What might living in a certain neighborhood have to do with HIV risk? This is one of the many questions that Team Represent is seeking to answer with our Menhood study.  Studies have demonstrated links between living in impoverished or predominantly racial/ethnic minority neighborhoods and poor physical and mental health. A handful of studies have found links between neighborhoods and HIV risk, particularly in low income Black communities, but in general, not much is known about the relationship between neighborhoods and HIV risk.  

Part of the challenge lies in identifying the types of neighborhood factors that are associated with increased HIV risk, and how these factors increase risk. Neighborhood and HIV researcher Dr. Carl Latkin and colleagues aptly summed up the challenge this way: “Abandoned buildings, per se, do not ‘cause’ HIV acquisition.” 

Black Men, DC, and HIV Risk: The Neighborhood Angle

Menhood is designed to gain a culturally-grounded understanding of how neighborhoods shape Black men’s HIV sexual risk behaviors, as well as behaviors that reduce HIV risk. Using qualitative approaches (i.e., focus groups, individual interviews), computerized surveys, and geospatial analytical methods, Menhood investigates how the relationship between individual- and neighborhood-level stressors (e.g., incarceration, unemployment) and individual-and neighborhood-level resilience (e.g., social support, community support) can increase or decrease Black men’s sexual risk behaviors. The National Institutes of Mental Health/National Institutes of Health funded the five-year R01 study, which is ongoing through 2018.

Almost 90 men from nine different DC neighborhoods participated in the study’s initial focus groups (conducted during Fall 2014 and Spring 2015).  We used findings from these groups to make sure that our quantitative survey reflected the experiences that respondents discussed in the groups—gentrification, police harassment and surveillance, and criminal records as barriers to employment, for example. We finished the quantitative data collection phase, in which 845 men completed our computer survey, in July 2016. Our next steps involve the analysis of the survey data, followed by interviews with a subset of participants who completed the computer survey to help explain the survey’s results.

By the time Menhood ends, almost 1,000 Black men representing diverse sexual identities and socioeconomically diverse DC neighborhoods will have participated in the study. Their experiences and perspectives will help Team Represent better understand how:

  1. Black men’s experiences with stressors, including those in their neighborhoods, shape HIV risk; and
  2. Black men’s strengths, including the assets in their neighborhoods, may help decrease sexual HIV risk. 

In turn, we will share this knowledge with participants, community-based organizations, and academic communities so that it can inform future research, interventions, and policies to improve Black men’s health. To learn more about Menhood, contact us.



1980's DC

CAB member Tony Lewis, Jr.’s memoir revisits 1980s D.C.

CAB member Tony Lewis, Jr. discusses his memoir about growing up as a kingpin’s son in D.C. in the 1980s. Lewis is a Job Developer and Vocational Development Specialist at CSOSA.

Community Advisory Board

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