Study of HIV Prevention Among Adolescent Black Males Gets Support from UR’s CFAR Program

CFAR logoUrban educational scholar Edward Brockenbrough, assistant professor in teaching and curriculum at the Warner School of Education, is a recipient of a pilot grant award from the University of Rochester’s Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) along with Mitchell Wharton, assistant professor of clinical nursing, for their collaborative research project entitled “Sexual Engagements with Networked Technologies by Young Black Men Who Have Sex with Men (YBMSM),” otherwise known as the SENT Project.  
Brockenbrough, who will serve as co-principal investigator on this project, is the first Warner School faculty member to receive an award under the CFAR program.
The study responds to the ongoing HIV epidemic among African Americans in the United States, where Black males account for almost one-third of all new HIV infections. With the support of the CFAR award, Wharton and Brockenbrough will look at how YBMSM engage YouTube, Tumblr, Grindr, text messaging, and other networked technological platforms to learn about sex, connect with sexual partners, and negotiate the risks of HIV infection. Findings from this study will have important implications for advancing sexual health education and HIV awareness initiatives for YBMSM. 
“Based on our preliminary research, we expect that this new study may provide evidence for the need to develop specific culturally-appropriate HIV prevention Internet outreach protocols targeting young Black males at risk for HIV infection,” Brockenbrough explained.
Using a mixed methods research approach that includes online surveys, one-on-one interviews, and an assessment of the subjects’ sexually-oriented engagements with multiple networked technologies, the study will recruit 30 Black males, between the ages of 18 to 25, primarily from three target cities in the northeastern United States with a high incidence of HIV among YBMSM. Wharton and Brockenbrough will break new ground by exploring how YBMSM’s sexual identities and practices, socialization experiences, and attitudes toward HIV infection and prevention are shaped by their use of these platforms for sexually-related purposes. 
Edward BrockenbroughBrockenbrough, who also directs the Urban Teaching and Leadership Program at the Warner School, focuses his research on negotiations of identity, pedagogy, and power in urban educational spaces, with a particular focus on the educational experiences of LGBTQ youth of color. Most recently, he conducted an ethnographic study on how a support services agency in the northeastern United States addresses the educational needs of Black and Latino urban queer youth.  He has served as a board member of the Educational Justice Coalition, a Philadelphia-based not-for-profit that advocates for and creates educational opportunities for LGBTQ youth, and the Black Gay Research Group. In addition, he was the president of the board of directors of the MOCHA Center.
Established in 2008 as a Developmental Center for AIDS Research (D-CFAR) and recognized as a full CFAR program in 2013, the CFAR program is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and provides administrative and research support for AIDS research projects. Learn more about the CFAR program.
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Tags: adolescents, AIDS research, AIDS/HIV, Center for AIDS Research, CFAR, Edward Brockenbrough, HIV prevention, LGBTQ, research