NIH funded HIV Prevention website

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GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
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NIH funded HIV Prevention website

Should tax dollars be spent to teach gay men how to have safe sex?

The National Institutes of Health has spent millions of dollars over the past decade to fund the construction of an HIV-prevention website that, among other sexually explicit features, includes a graphic image of homosexual sex and a Space Invaders-style interactive game that uses a penis-shaped blaster to shoot down gay epithets.

The grant money went to a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota that created a site called Sexpulse. The goal was to draw in what are termed MISM -- or "men who use the Internet to seek sex with men" -- in order to educate them and ultimately reduce their risk of contracting HIV.

But the site used unorthodox methods to get subjects' attention and keep them interested. The site includes pornographic images of homosexual sex as well as naked and scantily clad men. It includes several risqu? interactive features, like the Space Invaders-style arcade game.

The conservative Traditional Values Coalition, which flagged the government-backed research and described it as "gay porn," complains the website and studies are a multimillion-dollar waste.

"We can't spend money on this. America is broke," coalition President Andrea Lafferty said. "People are losing their homes, they're losing their jobs ... and what we're doing is we're funding year after year these cockamamie grants by people at NIH."

NIH records show the government started awarding grants to the Minnesota team beginning in 2001, renewing them almost every year since then. The 2012 grant was valued at more than $680,000; in total, NIH has awarded more than $5 million to the team. The researchers started developing the Sexpulse site in 2005 and continue to work on the project -- the project leader told FoxNews.com that total funding through 2015 is expected to top $7 million.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/04/19/nih-under-fire-for-grants-toward-creation-homoerotic-website/?intcmp=trending#ixzz1sWbkCgpz

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

Yes. I think helping prevent something that could save lives and save tax dollars in the future is a good investment.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

It's called the National Institutes of Health, period, not the National Institutes of Health for Straight People. Preventing HIV is absolutely a good way to spend their money.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"Spacers" wrote:

It's called the National Institutes of Health, period, not the National Institutes of Health for Straight People. Preventing HIV is absolutely a good way to spend their money.

So where is the website showing straight people the best sexual positions to use to avoid contracting HIV?

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

They need to cut off thwt last two million. It's not working, use it on something else.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

So where is the website showing straight people the best sexual positions to use to avoid contracting HIV?

Perhaps I'm out of touch on this, but isn't the main thing the use of condoms and not so much the position?

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Perhaps I'm out of touch on this, but isn't the main thing the use of condoms and not so much the position?

If thats the case why do they need a website to show them the positions?

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

So where is the website showing straight people the best sexual positions to use to avoid contracting HIV?

Position doesn't matter. Where do you even see that in the above article?

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

"wlillie" wrote:

They need to cut off thwt last two million. It's not working, use it on something else.

How do you know it's not working? The website is focused toward young, internet-game-playing, gay men. It seems to me that that demographic group needs to educated again & again & again as those young men grow up and new young gay men come up, so to speak. Wink It's not like the 18-24 crowd learns the lesson, so you never have to teach the lesson again. Every single group of 18-24 needs to learn the same lesson.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

The whole article states it doesn't. Wink

" no meaningful difference"

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

The whole article isn't quoted above, only the beginning. Poor posting etiquette to not state that. Anyway, I disagree with your interpretation of "no meaningful difference."

"A 2010 report on the research claimed to observe a 16 percent reduction in unprotected anal sex among test subjects after three months -- the report, though, claimed "no meaningful differences" were observed after a year."

I believe that means that there was no significant change in the rate of unprotected anal sex compared from three months to one year, not that the difference is meaningless or that the reduction in safe sex activity disappeared. So a 16% reduction in unsafe sex practices after three months, and perhaps a 16.2% reduction after a year, but maybe not 18% or 25% after a year. Still, considering that a new crop of young men comes around every year, that's not a bad statistic.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

"Spacers" wrote:

The whole article isn't quoted above, only the beginning. Poor posting etiquette to not state that. Anyway, I disagree with your interpretation of "no meaningful difference."

"A 2010 report on the research claimed to observe a 16 percent reduction in unprotected anal sex among test subjects after three months -- the report, though, claimed "no meaningful differences" were observed after a year."

I believe that means that there was no significant change in the rate of unprotected anal sex compared from three months to one year, not that the difference is meaningless or that the reduction in safe sex activity disappeared. So a 16% reduction in unsafe sex practices after three months, and perhaps a 16.2% reduction after a year, but maybe not 18% or 25% after a year. Still, considering that a new crop of young men comes around every year, that's not a bad statistic.

I don't read it that way. I read it that it helped for a few months and then the numbers went back down. The person writing the report used the phras "no meaningful difference" which doesn't sound like 2 million extra dollars should be used on to me. Do you really disagree or just unhappy with tj

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

This is directed toward MISM- the section of MSM (men who have sex with men) who are on the internet. MSM aren't normally out gay men (that's why they're not called gay men, as they don't identify with this). This includes repressed married men, repressed unmarried men, and men who don't normally hang around with out gay men. The gay community does a great job of educating about safer sex. This is targeting the people who are isolated from that.

If you want to save this money we need to:
1) Legalize same-sex marriage so that people know that a monogamous relationship is acceptable by society
2) Accept same-sex marriage openly so that people don't hide
3) Ensure that adoption agencies can't discriminate against same-sex couples so there is no reason to hide
4) Let the gay community embrace everyone

There is another issue here. People who are born gay but are part of a repressive religion will often see any disease that they get as punishment for them acting on their natural urges. So they don't engage in safer sex, aren't prepared for safer sex, and it is because of that stigma.

It is time to break down those stigmas. It is time for society to tell people they don't need to hide who they are. It is time for everyone to tell their friends and family that they will not brook homophobia or transphobia. It is time to stand up to the bigots.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

I have no issue with teaching people about protection, providing protection, gay, straight, bi, tri - etc......

I do think I have an issue with the way in which the material is presented and paid with public funds. Pictures of naked women may grab the attention of a teenage boy when talking about this topic in school, but we wouldn't do that. I feel that way about this.

If someone wanting to privately fund this tactic, I would support it.

Also, I thought the biggest at risk group in the past 10 -15 years was straight females for the contraction of HIV? Not that all groups shouldn't be educated of risks, why do we still seem to concentrate on the stigma of the gay male and HIV connection?

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

"blather" wrote:

This is directed toward MISM- the section of MSM (men who have sex with men) who are on the internet. MSM aren't normally out gay men (that's why they're not called gay men, as they don't identify with this). This includes repressed married men, repressed unmarried men, and men who don't normally hang around with out gay men. The gay community does a great job of educating about safer sex. This is targeting the people who are isolated from that.

If you want to save this money we need to:
1) Legalize same-sex marriage so that people know that a monogamous relationship is acceptable by society
2) Accept same-sex marriage openly so that people don't hide
3) Ensure that adoption agencies can't discriminate against same-sex couples so there is no reason to hide
4) Let the gay community embrace everyone

There is another issue here. People who are born gay but are part of a repressive religion will often see any disease that they get as punishment for them acting on their natural urges. So they don't engage in safer sex, aren't prepared for safer sex, and it is because of that stigma.

It is time to break down those stigmas. It is time for society to tell people they don't need to hide who they are. It is time for everyone to tell their friends and family that they will not brook homophobia or transphobia. It is time to stand up to the bigots.

Although I agree with everything you are saying for general life purpose, I don't think that any of these actions will make someone put a condom on or maintain a monogamous relationship. Education is the only thing that has really helped over the years and of course it has not eliminated it 100%.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

The NIH grant funds a lot more than just that one website:

Men’s INTernet Study III (MINTS-III) for HIV Prevention
This is a competing continuation application to further HIV prevention research on the Internet as a risk environment. In 2001, we started one of the first five NIH-funded studies of the Internet and HIV risk: the Men’s INTernet Study (MINTS-I). This three-year project focused on Internet-using Latino Men who have Sex with Men (MSM). At 32 months into the study, we completed an entirely online survey study to assess the Internet-sex risk of Latino MSM in the US, developed a psychosexual profile based on 1,026 participants and compared their risk behaviors in sexual liaisons from the Internet and from conventional meetings.
MINTS-I was followed in 2005 by MINTS-II, where we developed Sexpulse 1.0, an online HIV prevention intervention. Based on a needs assessment of 2,716 Men who use the Internet to seek Sex with other Men (MISM), Sexpulse 1.0 incorporated fourteen highly interactive modules based on persuasive computing principles. With 650 total participants, the intervention group showed a statistically significant 20% reduction in risk behavior at 3 months compared to the control. These key findings, combined with reports of a high number of sexual partners met specifically through the Internet, predict disproportionate infection through liaisons developed online.

These results have compelling implications for all MISM, but variation in sexual risk behavior has shaped the rationale for our next intervention, the Men’s INTernet Study III for HIV Prevention (MINTS-III). MINTS-III will take the next logical steps in this research:

  • strengthening the intervention to produce long-term behavioral change
  • undertaking a rigorous study of measuring sexual risk online
  • testing the new intervention in two populations (as a risk-reduction intervention with high-risk MISM, and as a risk-protection intervention with no/low-risk MISM)
  • identifying and studying respondent bias in online HIV trials

To accomplish these goals, MINTS-III will involve the next generation of Sexpulse 1.0 and includes five aims:

  • Increase the long-term HIV prevention effectiveness of the intervention
  • Study the temporal reliability and validity of measuring sexual risk behavior online
  • Test the risk reduction efficacy of Sexpulse 1.1, and of online boosters for MISM engaged in high risk behavior
  • Study panel conditioning in online trials
  • Test the protective efficacy of Sexpulse 1.1, and of online boosters for MISM engaged in no/low risk behavior

http://www.sph.umn.edu/epi/research/hips/mints/

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Straights don't need a sight like this. Everybody knows that God won't give you AIDS if you do it missionary style. Duh Wink

In seriousness, bravo to my friend Blather for a spot on assessment.

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

"elleon17" wrote:

I have no issue with teaching people about protection, providing protection, gay, straight, bi, tri - etc......

I do think I have an issue with the way in which the material is presented and paid with public funds. Pictures of naked women may grab the attention of a teenage boy when talking about this topic in school, but we wouldn't do that. I feel that way about this.

If someone wanting to privately fund this tactic, I would support it.

Also, I thought the biggest at risk group in the past 10 -15 years was straight females for the contraction of HIV? Not that all groups shouldn't be educated of risks, why do we still seem to concentrate on the stigma of the gay male and HIV connection?

I agree with this.