The G.U.Y.S. (Guys Understanding Your Situation) Program

Principal Investigator: Cathy J. Reback, Ph.D.
Funded By: Los Angeles County, Department of Public Health, Division of HIV and STD Programs
Grant #: PH-001039
Total Project Period: 10/1/06 – 6/30/20

The G.U.Y.S. Program offers a multi-tier health education/risk reduction (HE/RR) intervention – utilizing both individual and group-level interventions – designed to reduce high-risk sexual and drug behaviors among homeless, substance-using men who have sex with men (MSM) and men who have sex with men and women (MSM/W). Most specifically the intervention targets sexual risk behaviors that are most likely to occur while using methamphetamine, particularly unprotected anal intercourse, as well as exchange sex risks and injection drug risks. The program consists of a comprehensive, culturally appropriate, continuum of services that includes outreach, individual-level interventions (ILI), and group-level interventions (GLI). Follow-up ILI assessments are conducted at 30, 60 and 90 days. Face-to-face street outreach is conducted in identified high-risk areas of Hollywood and West Hollywood and in the natural settings where homeless, substance-using MSM and MSM/W congregate. The program has successfully worked with MSM and MSM/W in highly charged sexual arenas and developed non-invasive outreach and intervention strategies for these venues, which vary based on the safety and atmosphere of each public or commercial sex environment. The GLI component of the intervention serves to increase knowledge and awareness of HIV risk behaviors, increase social support and self-esteem, and develop skills to decrease HIV risk behaviors. The GLI – working concomitantly with the outreach encounters and ILI – motivate ongoing and maintained HIV risk reductions and gear participants’ towards HIV testing to identify their HIV status and, finally, develop skills for disclosing HIV status.