Reducing HIV vulnerability through a multilevel life skills intervention for adolescent men (the ireach project): Protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Jose Bauermeister, Patrick S. Sullivan, Laura Gravens, James Wolfe, Kristina Countryman, Neena Smith-Bankhead, Ryan A. Drab, Gregory Sallabank, Jordan D. Helms, Kristie Khatibi, Rebecca Filipowicz, Keith Joseph Horvath, Erin Bonar, Amanda Castel, Lisa Hightow-Weidman, Jodie Guest, Rob Stephenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Few HIV interventions have demonstrated efficacy in reducing HIV risk among adolescent men who have sex with men (AMSM), and fewer still have recognized the unique needs of AMSM based on race/ethnicity or geographical setting. Recognizing that youths’ HIV vulnerability is intricately tied to their development and social context, delivering life skills training during adolescence might delay the onset or reduce the consequences of risk factors for HIV acquisition and equip AMSM with the skills to navigate HIV prevention. This protocol describes the development and testing of iREACH, an online multilevel life skills intervention for AMSM. Objective: This randomized controlled trial (RCT) aims to test the efficacy of an online-delivered life skills intervention, iREACH, on cognitive and behavioral HIV-related outcomes for AMSM. Methods: IREACH is a prospective RCT of approximately 600 cisgender adolescent males aged 13 to 18 years who report same-sex attractions. The intervention will be tested with a racial/ethnically diverse sample (=50% racial/ethnic minority) of AMSM living in four regions in the United States: (1) Chicago to Detroit, (2) Washington, DC to Atlanta, (3) San Francisco to San Diego, and (4) Memphis to New Orleans. Results: This project is currently recruiting participants. Recruitment began in March 2018. Conclusions: IREACH represents a significant innovation in the development and testing of a tailored life skills-focused intervention for AMSM, and has the potential to fill a significant gap in HIV prevention intervention programming and research for AMSM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10174
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is supported by a U01 grant from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (1U01MD011274-01), and the Centers for AIDS Research at the University of Pennsylvania (P30AI045008) and at Emory University (P30AI050409). Views expressed in this manuscript do not necessarily represent the views of the funding agency.


  • Adolescence
  • HIV
  • Life skills
  • MHealth
  • Prevention
  • Sexuality


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