In 2015, NORC began working with the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) on a study to inform early and effective intervention and prevention efforts in response to high rates of HIV infection among adolescent men who have sex with men (AMSM) and transgender youth. To respond to the increase in HIV infection, particularly among Black and Latino sexual and gender minority youth, DASH, with support from the Secretary's Minority AIDS Initiative Fund, contracted with NORC to develop an innovative, social media-based recruitment and data collection project.
The Survey of Today's Adolescent Relationships and Transitions (START) targeted gay, bisexual, and questioning males (13-18 years old) and transgender youth (13-24 years old) using social media platforms for recruitment (e.g., Facebook, Snap Chat, Instagram). START collected data from over 3,100 sexual and gender minority youth on several topics including sexual and gender identity, behavior, and attraction; access to sex education and other HIV prevention activities; knowledge and behaviors related to HIV prevention methods; and parental involvement. Concurrent with the START survey, NORC’s partners at The Fenway Institute (TFI) conducted online and in-person focus groups with racially and ethnically diverse sexual and gender minority youth and adult professionals across the U.S. who work with these youth.
The final year of the project involved data analysis to help translate findings into tools and guidance for health care providers, educators, and youth workers working with this population whose insights are being gathered and integrated at each phase. NORC not only formulated an effective web-based survey but also developed innovative recruitment strategies for a hard-to-reach and understudied population.
Based on the results from the survey and focus groups, NORC is developed appropriate, effective HIV prevention materials to assist young gay and bisexual males and transgender youth access to HIV prevention and testing resources. Findings highlighted the need to offer tools that are free, easy to access, and offered through accredited training to support competence working with sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth through continuing education credits. Visit the Developing Tools for Sexual and Gender Minority Youth project to learn more.