Guy2Guy (G2G) is an exciting new text messaging-based HIV prevention project designed specifically for adolescent men who have sex with men (AMSM), ages 14-18. This study is a joint collaboration between the IMPACT Program at Northwestern University and the Center for Innovative Public Health Research, a non-profit research group in California. G2G is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
AMSM are facing increasing incidence of HIV/AIDS (accounting for almost 70% of HIV diagnoses among U.S. young people) with most transmission occurring through unprotected sex. Nonetheless, the majority of prevention programs focus primarily on adults and heterosexual youth. G2G is working to address this problem through the development of an innovative intervention that uses a modality that more than half of adolescents already use on a daily basis – text messaging.
The intervention is based on the Information-Motivation-Behavior Skills Model for HIV risk behavior change and will include a 6-module text messaging intervention that will be tested through a pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted among AMSM across the United States. In addition to text-based informational and motivational modules aimed at increasing safe-sex behavior (i.e., condom use, abstinence), the program will include components that increase participant access to real-time peer-based support.
The G2G intervention is in the formative stage of development. In order to develop an intervention that is tailored to reflect the needs of AMSM, the G2G project is currently in the process of conducting online focus groups and will convene Youth Advisory Councils where AMSM will participate in each stage of program development and evaluation.