Asian Pacific Islander Young Men's Study
Michele D Kipke, Childrens Hospital, Los Angeles
Social and Behavioral
Asian/Pacific Islander (API) young men, who have sex with men (YMSM), have been poorly represented in most if not all Los Angeles-based HIV surveillance and behavioral risk studies. Our own research suggests that this may be due in part to the fact that API YMSM in Los Angeles are both hard-to-reach and hesitant to participate in research related to drug use and HIV risk. Consequently, we know very little about API YMSM's involvement in HIV risk and protective behaviors. Moreover, there is little reason to believe that a large-scale study focused on API YMSM would be successful in Los Angeles without additional formative research to understand some of the reasons API YMSM do not typically participate in HIV-related research and to explore the feasibility of using sampling techniques other than venue-based sampling for study recruitment. We are therefore proposing to conduct pilot and feasibility research to: 1) characterize the concerns, fears, and perceived barriers with respect to API YMSM's participation in HIV-related research; and 2) examine HIV risk/protective behaviors among API YMSM within the context of their social and sexual networks. Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) techniques will be used to recruit a sample of 78 API YMSM (ages 18-24) of Filipino, Korean and Chinese ethnicities (n=26 for each group). RDS will require the research team to identify two respondent "seeds" from each ethnic group and ask those individuals to then recruit up to two members of their social and sexual networks into the study; in turn those additional recruits each will be asked to recruit two more participants from their networks. This method of recruitment will continue for up to six waves of recruitment. A mixed-method study design will be employed using a single data collection instrument to capture both quantitative and qualitative data. First, a brief semi-structured interview will be conducted to characterize the concerns, fears, and perceived barriers with respect to API YMSM's participation in HIV- related research. This will be followed with a brief quantitative survey that will focus on participants' involvement in HIV risk and protective behaviors within the context of their social and sexual networks. In addition, an interview will be conducted with participants to characterize the challenges that they experienced when recruiting members of his sexual and social networks. Thus, the findings from this pilot study will provide us with the information needed to evaluate whether RDS is an acceptable, feasible, and appropriate sampling design for use with API YMSM in Los Angeles. Moreover, findings will be used to inform the development of an R01 application that will be submitted to the National Institutes of Health to examine substance abuse HIV risk and protective behaviors within a larger sample of API YMSM for the purpose of developing new HIV prevention interventions that are developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant, and socially acceptable for this population.