Keep It Up! (KIU!) is a highly interactive, engaging, and culturally-relevant HIV prevention program tailored to ethnically diverse young men who have sex with men (YMSM). It was developed and tested in the context of a completed NIH R34 grant in collaboration with local community-based organizations (such as Center on Halsted and Howard Brown Health Center).
The intervention is based on the Information-Motivation-Behavior Skills Model for HIV risk behavior change, principals of E-learning, and qualitative research with ethnically diverse YMSM. KIU! employs an innovative approach of focusing on situations and settings commonly experienced by YMSM (e.g., Internet, hooking-up online). Intervention content is then embedded within these “virtual” settings. This is different than traditional HIV prevention programs, which often have each session focused on an aspect of HIV knowledge, transmission, or prevention. KIU! makes extensive use of video, games, animation, and humor (when appropriate) to help increase engagement and motivate behavior change by addressing peer norms, personal vulnerability, behavioral intentions, and pros/cons of condom use.
The pilot randomized clinical trial (RCT) demonstrated the feasibility and acceptability of the KIU! intervention. The study enrolled an ethnically diverse sample of YMSM, achieved excellent retention through 3 month follow-up (89%), and maintained strong intervention engagement.
Keep It Up! is currently being implemented at Center on Halsted as a Community-Level Intervention funded by the Chicago Department of Public Health through funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.