Adolescent men who have sex with men (AMSM) experience a dramatic health disparity in HIV, accounting for over 80% of new diagnoses among youth. Current evidence-based HIV prevention programs, however, focus primarily on adults and heterosexual youth, thereby missing the unique experiences and socio-environmental contexts of AMSM aged 13–18. To address these gaps, we used the Intervention Mapping (IM) protocol to developmentally adapt an existing evidence-based online HIV risk reduction program (i.e., Keep it Up!/KIU!), originally designed for young adult MSM aged 18–29, into a new intervention called SMART Squad. Using a hybrid of IM creation and adaptation tasks, we specified three behavioral outcomes and identified corresponding performance objectives for SMART Squad based on the original goals of KIU!. We constructed matrices of change objectives using determinants from the Information–Motivation–Behavioral Skills model, modifying them for the younger population with additional theoretical and empirical evidence and expert review. SMART Squad activities were operationalized from theory-based behavior change methods matched to the change objectives and guided by program themes, components, and scope imported from KIU!. The final SMART Squad intervention comprises 6 episodes/modules delivered in 2 sessions plus 2 booster episodes occurring 1 and 3 months after the main program. It is currently being evaluated nationally as part of a stepped-care package of 3 programs, in which the receipt and sequencing of interventions is tailored to individual AMSM development and needs. Despite substantial changes to KIU!, IM was a useful method for retaining the hypothesized essential elements of the eHealth HIV risk reduction program. Challenges and recommendations for future researchers and practitioners are discussed.
- HIV prevention
- Intervention mapping
- Men who have sex with men (MSM)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health