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Needs Assessment for the Prevention of HIV (Massachusetts Department of Health)

For the Massachusetts Department of Health, Abt Global is currently conducting a needs assessment for the prevention of HIV.  The contract involves carrying out a series of needs assessments that are designed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Prevention Planning Group and the MDPH in accordance with the group's concerns regarding gaps in services and underserved populations.  For example, the first needs assessment focused on two cities outside the Greater Boston area with high HIV prevalence rates and low service utilization.  Abt Global staff consulted with representatives from community-based organizations to identify gaps, as well as indicators of success, in prevention services offered to these two communities.  Particular attention was paid to current prevention efforts targeting specific ethnic and behaviorally defined populations at high risk for HIV infection.  In another needs assessment, Abt Global researchers designed a study, primarily through a survey of young men from two cities in Massachusetts, to tap the special issues in presenting prevention messages to young men who have sex with men.  The survey of young men (under age 25) assessed their level of knowledge and risk-taking behavior as related to HIV transmission and helped verify providers' concerns that this group is in need of specialized prevention services.