Perú boasts one of the lowest HIV prevalence rates in Latin America at 0.4%. However, HIV infection in this country is disproportionately concentrated in men who have sex with men (MSM). Despite growing access to MSM-sensitive health care and enhanced community-based education programs for this population, MSM remain vulnerable to an increased burden of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. In one urban MSM subset, social alcohol use is currently identified as an important factor in the practice of unprotected sex in as many as 70% of these well-cared for and largely well-educated men. This project aimed to call attention to the negative effect of social alcohol use on safe sex practices, and to encourage higher standards of condom use in the setting of alcohol use. This educational message was conveyed through a new patient brochure, collaboratively developed for use in community-based education activities carried out by peer health promoters and counseling staff. In addition, a poster communicating the same message was created and posted in the counseling area. These educational efforts were presented to the local Ministry of Health staff and administrators were encouraged to consider further programs addressing alcohol and condom use in the MSM population. Education projects at this health center are well-developed and well-received by MSM patients. It is hoped that by specifically emphasizing messages about alcohol and condom use, these programs will successfully raise awareness in the MSM population and make behavior change possible.
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