Purpose: The incidence of new HIV infections is disproportionately high among Black men who have sex with men (BMSM) in Mississippi. Community-based organizations received funding through the ACCELERATE! initiative to implement interventions aimed at increasing BMSM's access to HIV prevention, treatment and care interventions.
Approach: We conducted a mixed methods evaluation of the ACCELERATE! initiative to assess its impact. We also explored factors that act as barriers to and facilitators of BMSM's engagement in HIV prevention interventions.
Setting: Interviews were conducted between July 2018 and February 2020.
Participants: Thirty-six BMSM and 13 non-grantee key informants who worked in the field of HIV in Mississippi participated.
Method: The qualitative data from the interview transcripts was analyzed using an iterative, inductive coding process.
Results: We identified 10 key recommendations that were most common across all participants and that were aligned with UNAIDS Global AIDS Strategy strategic priorities. Several recommendations address the reduction of HIV- and LGBT-stigma. Two of the most common recommendations were to increase representation of the target population in health promotion program leadership and to include HIV with other Black health issues in community-based health education programs rather than singling it out. Another recommendation called for programs aimed at addressing underlying factors associated with HIV-risk behaviors, such as mental illness.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that HIV education interventions in the Deep South need to be revitalized to enhance their reach and effectiveness.
Keywords: Deep South; HIV prevention; health disparities; health promotion; qualitative research.