Healthy Young Men's Study

We believe better health for all young men is possible

The Healthy Young Men’s Study (HYM) is a research initiative funded by the National Institutes of Health focused on preventing HIV and improving the health and wellness of Black, Latino, and multiracial young men who have sex with men (YMSM) in Los Angeles.

Why young men of color?

Young gay and bisexual men of color are heavily impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. Black YMSM are the only group that is still experiencing an increase in the rate of new HIV infections. Our prior research found that stigma of HIV, experiences of racism, internalized homophobia, and violence are risk factors for HIV infection among YMSM of color.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What is the purpose of HYM?

The HYM study is uniquely focused on identifying best practices for engaging young gay men of color in the HIV Care Continuum. The HIV Care Continuum is a series of steps a person at risk for HIV would take to prevent and/or drastically reduce the amount of HIV in the body. Ranging from HIV testing and engagement in care to adherence to HIV treatment, taking these steps helps prevent the spread of HIV to others. The HYM study will:

  • Develop new tools and interventions to prevent new HIV infections and improve health outcomes.
  • Better understand the barriers that keep young men of color out of care, as well as factors that help them stay in care.
  • Develop best practices for engaging young gay men of color in the HIV Care Continuum.
  • Influence HIV care policy and funding.
  • Address institutional and structural barriers to care.
  • Advocate for young gay men of color.
  • Study over time young gay men of color’s:
    • Insurance status and access to care
    • Substance use including alcohol, marijuana and other illicit substances
    • Use and access to HIV/STI testing and treatment services
    • For HIV+ young men, their retention in HIV/AIDS care and adherence to ART
    • Use of biomedical prevention interventions, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)

Prior Research

  • HYM 1.0

Conducted between 2003 and 2008, Healthy Young Men’s Study 1.0 was designed to provide much-needed insight into the lives and behaviors of YMSM. Specifically, this research focused on closing significant gaps in knowledge regarding individual, familial, social, and community characteristics that influence YMSM to engage in both risky and protective behaviors.

Results from this research demonstrated that the stigma of HIV, experiences of racism, internalized homophobia and violence are risk factors for HIV infection among YMSM of color. Along with involvement in illicit drug use and risky sexual behavior, they may lead to toxic stress responses that can affect the physical and mental health of these young men.

HYM 1.0 Key Publications

Kubicek, K., Beyer, W. J., Weiss, G., Iverson, E., & Kipke, M. D. (2010). In the dark: Young men’s stories of sexual initiation in the absence of relevant sexual health information. Health Education & Behavior, 37(2), 243-263

Wong, C. F., Kipke, M. D., Weiss, G., & McDavitt, B. (2010). The impact of recent stressful experiences on HIV-risk related behaviors. Journal of Adolescence33(3), 463-475

Wong, C. F., Weiss, G., Ayala, G., & Kipke, M. D. (2010). Harassment, discrimination, violence and illicit drug use among young men who have sex with men. AIDS education and prevention: Official publication of the International Society for AIDS Education, 22(4), 286

Kubicek, K., McDavitt, B., Carpineto, J., Weiss, G., Iverson, E. F., & Kipke, M. D. (2009). “God Made Me Gay for a Reason” Young Men Who Have Sex With Men’s Resiliency in Resolving Internalized Homophobia From Religious Sources. Journal of Adolescent Research, 24(5), 601-633

Kipke, M. D., Kubicek, K., Weiss, G., Wong, C., Lopez, D., Iverson, E., & Ford, W. (2007). The health and health behaviors of young men who have sex with men. Journal of Adolescent Health, 40(4), 342-350

View full list of HYM 1.0 publications