Cleveland, Ohio: home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, former stomping grounds of Lebron James, and the hub for Safe on the Scene, a CDC high-impact HIV prevention project focused on engaging African American men who have sex with men in comprehensive HIV services. We sat down with Ayme McCain, Associate Director of Prevention Services, to chat about the program, its community, and how our capacity-building services supported her team.
Give us an “elevator pitch” for Safe on the Scene – who does this program serve and what kind of HIV-specific work is this program doing?
Safe on the Scene is a CDC High-Impact HIV Prevention project whose purpose is to implement comprehensive HIV prevention programs to reduce morbidity, mortality, and related health disparities. This project focuses on HIV in Cuyahoga County by reducing new infections, increasing access to care, and promoting health equity. Safe on the Scene is a collaboration between Recovery Resources and Care Alliance Health Center, with Recovery Resources serving as the lead agency for this grant.
The goal of Safe on the Scene is to engage high-risk African-American males to our HIV Testing and behavioral interventions so we can reduce the high prevalence of HIV by linking clients to care. AA men who have sex with men (MSM) is our primary target population and all AA males is our secondary target population. Our behavioral interventions include Personalized Cognitive Counseling (PCC) for repeat HIV testers; d-up! Opinion Leader Training for individuals to spread risk-reduction messages to peers in their social network; and ARTAS (Antiretroviral Treatment Access Study) for recently diagnosed persons with HIV.
What makes the work this program is doing in Cleveland to combat HIV unique?
This project targets a specific population, African American men who have sex with men, who have not been adequately represented in the current HIV testing and prevention efforts in the county. In order to reach this population the need for new and innovative outreach strategies and prevention initiatives is paramount. The work we are doing is unique because it utilizes several different strategies to reach the population in the most need of our services. We have embarked upon outreach via the dating apps frequently used by the population we are attempting to reach. We have incorporated Social Networking Strategy as a way to utilize our D-up! graduates to refer their peers for HIV testing. We have also expanded our outreach to encompass non-traditional hours and locations. We have also established a drop-in space where members of the AA MSM community can feel safe coming to get tested, bringing friends to be tested or accessing essential support services they may need.
What upcoming initiatives, campaigns, or programs is Recovery Resources most excited about launching?
We are currently beginning a grassroots outreach initiative focusing on areas identified as high traffic areas for sex work specifically for the MSM population. This outreach will allow us to build trust with the community we are attempting to reach and will demonstrate our commitment to them and their health. We will utilize our mobile testing van to both conduct outreach and offer testing that very night.
How did our collaboration & CBA work support the work your program is doing?
The technical assistance received from your organization allowed us to assess our current HIV targeted testing initiatives to determine how we could improve. It provided clear and specific guidance on the next steps we needed to take to improve our testing program and to demonstrate progress towards reaching our goals. The CBA received energized staff to continue the amazing work they were already doing while being open and receptive to the changes needed to progress.
Follow Safe on the Scene’s efforts & work here!
Interested in receiving capacity-building assistance (CBA) or technical assistance from the San Francisco Community Health Center? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, place a request directly through the CDC’s system here, or visit our website to learn more about our trainings and online learning opportunities!