What does effective HIV prevention look like? Well, there is increasing evidence that a mixed behavioural and biomedical approach is the most valuable approach at reducing HIV infection rates and increasing testing frequency (see here for example). In particular, this research shows that HIV prevention should include structured one-to-one work which is carried out over at least several (and if possible, more) sessions. Programmes that cover a wide range of issues such as those related to culture, family, self-esteem, alcohol and drugs are also seen as vital in current HIV prevention literature (see articles here and here) . Taking such an approach is crucial because the reasons for having unprotected sex and other high risk sexual behaviours are complicated and rarely as straightforward as simply putting on a condom. In addition, research reinforces current thinking that HIV prevention must be client centred, non-judgemental and be linked to participant oriented goal setting.
In a nutshell the description above describes the free mentoring programme we offer at GMI Partnership and this is exactly why it is so effective. The programme is open to gay or bisexual men who live, work or socialise in London and who are having unprotected sex and concerned about the risks they are taking. Mentees are paired with peer mentors, who are gay/bisexual men who are trained volunteers and together they work through a fun, friendly and interactive programme looking at different areas that might be influencing the sex they are having. These include: being gay, relationships, self-esteem, goal building, drugs and alcohol. The programme does not aim is not to tell mentees what they should be doing, but to provide a safe space where they can explore the reasons for the risks they are taking and to work together to come up with a personalised plan for staying safe in the future. What’s more the programme is completely free, so what are you waiting for?
We are recruiting mentees now, so if you are interested, or no somebody that is please get in touch with Tony at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the other programmes GMI Partnership offer for gay/bisexual men in London please see our website: http://www.gmipartnership.org.uk/index.html