Program shifts focus from in-person to online
Researchers at the University of Minnesota are retiring the Man-to-Man Sexual Health Seminars, an in-person sexual health education and support program which ran for nearly 20 years, to make way for more online-based HIV prevention interventions for men seeking men.
The former program provided comprehensive HIV prevention and sexual health education to men who seek men for sex (MSM) in Minnesota.
The program’s nearly 20 years of education materials will be given to the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies at the University of Minnesota Libraries. The Tretter Collection is one of the largest LGBT archives in the world.
“At a time when HIV wasn’t fully understood, Man-to-Man, and its successor Among Men, worked to educate men in Minnesota who were at risk of contracting HIV or were themselves HIV positive,” said B. R. Simon Rosser, Ph.D., the program’s principal investigator. “But to remain on the forefront of this area of education, we need to continue our shift to online programing in response to the changing way men seek men.”
Rosser is also a professor and director of the HIV/STI Intervention and Prevention Studies (HIPS) Program in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Co- investigators are Michael Wilkerson, Ph.D. and Walter Bockting, Ph.D. (formerly of the U of M).
Preventive education needs to be online
Rosser said that when the program started in the mid 1980s, the University of Minnesota led the way by providing education directly to the community most infected and affected by HIV.
Now, men are increasingly turning to the Internet to find partners, which is where the preventative education needs to be, too.
“We live in an online world,” said Rosser, whose research focuses on “next generation” HIV prevention interventions. “And it isn’t just the homosexual or MSM community, everyone is online. It’s also where people now go to gather health related information. Online is where we now need to be, and that’s the direction we’re taking our research.”
To celebrate the transition, an event will be held Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the Elmer L. Andersen Library to honor the valuable contribution the program’s research materials provide to the Tretter Collection.
“The Tretter Collection is one of the largest LGBT archives in the world, and it is an honor to see our work among other historical pieces from this community,” Rosser said.