M Power Project serves All Gay and Bi-Sexual Men (MSM) ages 18 and up in Columbus Georgia and the Surrounding Area.
M Power Project Core Group:
M Power Project is run by a “Core Group” of 10-20 young gay/bisexual men from the community with the support of paid staff. The Core Group, along with other volunteers, design and carry out all Project activities. Ideally, the Project has its own physical space where most outreach events and meetings are held. The Project space can also serve as a drop-in center where young gay/bisexual men meet and support each other. The Project relies on a set of four integrated activities:
- Formal Outreach A team of young gay/bisexual men goes to popular community locations to discuss and promote safer sex in a fun and engaging way. They distribute appealing HIV prevention material that they have developed themselves. Additionally, the team creates its own outreach events to attract young gay/bisexual men (e.g., dances, video parties, picnics, discussion groups) where HIV prevention is promoted in various ways.
- Informal Outreach Through their participation in the M Power Project, young men develop the necessary skills and motivation to effectively support and encourage their friends about safer sex.
- Ongoing Publicity Campaign The campaign attracts young gay/bisexual men to the project through word of mouth, articles in gay newspapers, advertisements, web sites, e-mail notices, and other targeted strategies.
- M-groups These peer-led, 3 hour meetings of 8-10 young gay/bisexual men discuss factors contributing to unsafe sex (e.g., misconceptions about safer sex, beliefs that safer sex is not enjoyable, poor sexual communication skills). Through skills-building exercises, the men practice safer sex negotiation and correct condom use. Participants receive free condoms and lubricant and are trained and motivated to conduct informal outreach with their friends.
M Power Project Family Provides You the Following:
- Safe Haven Free of Stigma, Judgement, Hate and Drama.
- Personal Empowerment
- Community Building and Advocacy Skills/Training
- Leadership Skills/Training
- Open, Candid and Honest Discussions about Relevant MSM Topics
- Diffusion of New Behaviors through Social Networks
- FREE HIV Testing
- FREE Substance Abuse Treatment
The M Power Project Works:
The M Power Project is the first documented HIV prevention intervention for young gay/bisexual men to succeed in reducing sexual risk behavior. The program has been carefully developed, evaluated, and continually refined over the course of twelve years by prominent behavioral scientists from the University of California, San Francisco’s Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS), a leading-edge HIV/AIDS research institution.
It has been rigorously evaluated in two cities (Eugene, Oregon and Santa Barbara, California), and in both it reduced the rates of unprotected anal intercourse among young gay/bisexual men. The M Power Project is listed in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Compendium of HIV Prevention Interventions with Evidence of Effectiveness.
Our study also looked at the impact of the M Power Project since HAART (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy) — the drug “cocktail”— has become available. Our data showed that the intervention resulted in a slight decrease (-12%) in risk behavior among young gay/bisexual men in Albuquerque, NM while during the same time period, the risk behaviors in the comparison communities rose dramatically. Young gay/bisexual men in Phoenix, AZ reported a 24% increase in unprotected anal sex, and young gay/bisexual men in Austin, TX reported a 42% increase. At the time these data were collected, neither Austin nor Phoenix had an M Power Project in their communities.