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Evaluation of an Adapted Project Connect Community-based Intervention Among Professionals Serving Young Minority Men

Perin, Jamie PhD*; Jennings, Jacky M. PhD, MPH*†; Arrington-Sanders, Renata MD, ScM; Page, Kathleen R. MD§; Loosier, Penny S. PhD, MPH; Dittus, Patricia J. PhD; Marcell, Arik V. MD, MPH

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: March 2019 - Volume 46 - Issue 3 - p 165–171
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000977
Original Studies

Background To address sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs of young minority urban males, we developed and evaluated Project Connect Baltimore (Connect), which was adapted from a program with demonstrated effectiveness among young females. The objectives were to determine (1) the feasibility of Connect as adapted for young minority men, (2) whether the program increased SRH knowledge and resource sharing of youth-serving professionals (YSPs) working with young men, and (3) whether the program improved awareness and use of resources for young minority men in Baltimore City, an urban environment with high rates of sexually transmitted diseases.

Methods Connect developed a clinic referral guide for male youth-friendly resources for SRH. The YSPs working with partners and organizations serving young minority men were trained to use Connect materials and pretraining, immediate, and 3-month posttraining surveys were conducted to evaluate program effects. A before-after evaluation study was conducted among young men attending five urban Connect clinics where sexually transmitted disease/human immunodeficiency virus rates are high, recruiting young men in repeated cross-sectional surveys from April 2014 to September 2017.

Results Two hundred thirty-five YSPs were trained to use Connect materials, including a website, an article-based pocket guide, and were given information regarding SRH for young men. These professionals demonstrated increased knowledge about SRH for young men at immediate posttest (60.6% to 86.7%, P < 0.05), and reported more sharing of websites for SRH (23% to 62%, P < 0.05) from pretraining to 3-month posttraining. 169 young minority men were surveyed and reported increased awareness of Connect over 3 and a half years (4% to 11%, P = 0.015), although few young men reported using the website to visit clinics.

Conclusions Project Connect Baltimore increased knowledge of SRH needs among youth-serving professionals and sharing of SRH resources by these professionals with young men. This program also demonstrated increases in awareness of SRH resources among young minority urban men.

A before-after study of a community-based intervention in Baltimore, MD, found that youth-serving professionals can increase awareness of sexual and reproductive health resources among young minority men.

From the Departments of *International Health and

Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD; Departments of

Pediatrics and

§Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD; and

Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

Disclaimer statement: The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Conflicts of interest: none declared.

Funding sources: This research was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (PI: Marcell; CDC 1H25PS003796) and Secretary's Minority AIDS Initiative Fund.

Correspondence: Jamie Perin, PhD, Suite 4200, 5200 Eastern Ave, Baltimore MD 21224. E-mail:

Received for publication August 15, 2018, and accepted October 7, 2018.

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