So, since we're still in June, let's talk a little bit about how Men's Health Month actually does a pretty good job of reaching out to one specific disadvantaged population: Gay men. This population, has struggled with not only communicable disease issues such as AIDS, but more recently, mental health issues such as higher suicide rates. Gay men, then, are obvious targets for this kind of initiative.
What have I learned about in class this year concerning gay men? The study that sticks out in my mind is the Wyoming Rural Aids Prevention Project (WRAPP), which was an Internet-based intervention for gay men in rural communities. You can visit the page here: WRAPP.
You can also check out the program evaluation journal article here: WRAPP program eval
As Internet availability increases in rural communities, we need to consider these non-traditional groups in our intervention schemes. Before attending SRPH, I would have never really thought about intervening in a rural setting with gay men; ignorant me, I assumed that was primarily an urban problem. The fact of the matter is, though, that gay male (and female) populations still need our public health support regardless of whether they live in San Francisco, Santa Fe, or Steamboat Springs ... although the setting may be different, the health issues are largely the same.
The great thing about June is that it's also Pride Month, so we as public health professionals are uniquely positioned to use both of these initiatives to improve the sexual and general health of gay men. Contrary to popular opinion, AIDS isn't going away in this group, and neither are many other maladies. Stay tuned for a discussion of other innovative programs for gay male communities, which are on the docket for this week.