April 30, 2012

The PxROAR program significantly expanded this month. AVAC launched a PxROAR Europe pilot program with partner organizations WECARe+, The German Sexuality and Health Foundation, NAM, Planeta Salud and the Migrant African MSM Sexual Health Group. AVAC also selected six new members for the US-based contingent of PxROAR bringing our total number of domestic members to 17. Launched in 2009, the PxROAR program provides research literacy and advocacy training, as well as peer-to-peer support for individual and group strategic plans focused on biomedical HIV prevention research. PxROAR members represent communities hard-hit by the epidemic in the US and their projects have ranged from social media outreach to Black MSM to influencing study protocol development. Learn more about the PxROAR program here.

As just one example of the work done by members of this program, AVAC PxROAR member Charles Stephens is leading the effort on a new social marketing campaign, From Where I Stand. This campaign, started as part of Charles’ consulting work with AID Atlanta, seeks to engage young black gay men in Atlanta in affirming their sexual identities and reducing stigma around HIV. The campaign features billboards, a presence on Facebook: www.facebook.com/fromwhereistandatl, and a planned website and mobile app. Charles helps to moderate online forums and face-to-face gatherings for young black gay men, who are able to share their stories and talk about things like getting an HIV test and condom use. In its next phase Charles hopes to incorporate discussion on biomedical HIV prevention, such as PrEP and rectal microbicides. He’s been building his own literacy and engagement with these topics at AID Atlanta and through the ongoing discussions among ROAR members. From Where I Stand may expand to other cities—if you or your agency is interested, contact Charles at charles.stephens@aidatlanta.org.