HPTN 096 was developed and built upon a community-centered approach. The study team recognized, through community forums and community input, the need for a multilevel, comprehensive community engagement strategy.
A stakeholder mapping exercise was executed to determine appropriate stakeholders at each level of engagement, and how much engagement, communication or consideration would be needed. This process allowed better prioritization of stakeholders and for focused efforts at each individual level of engagement in the most impactful way.
Levels of Engagement
1. General Awareness
Community engagement for the purposes of general awareness-building during the pilot will focus on the creation of awareness which will be demonstrated through community acceptability of the study along with the formation and utilization of both the Community Advisory Group (CAG) and Community Strategies Group (CSG).
Community Advisory Group: The CAG is comprised of local gate keepers who are embedded in study communities. CAG members will work locally to establish relationships and find ways to create new stakeholder engagement and awareness opportunities for HPTN 096.
Community Strategies Group: This group was created during the study conception phase to ensure HPTN 096 had culturally relevant input and study development guidance.
2. Community Liaisons
Community Liaisons are responsible for promoting the HPTN 096 project through planned community outreach, awareness, and engagement activities; and identifying health and community related service’s needs for Black men who have sex with men (MSM) where HPTN 096 can collaborate, address service gaps, and develop community focused outcomes to assist in the promotion of all HPTN 096 components.
3. Study-Specific Community Engagement
Each study component will involve tailored community engagement activities for the purposes of gaining participation in, awareness of, or acceptability for each component. These community engagement activities are largely integrated into the activities of the study component itself, and as such, the success of community engagement as it relates to specific components will be assessed from a subset of pilot outcome measures already identified for each component. This engagement also features indirect recruitment for the cross-sectional assessment.