Mpowerment mobilizes young gay and bisexual men to reduce sexual risk taking and encourages HIV testing and positive social connections. Mpowerment educates about safer sex and provides condoms.


According to the developers, The Mpowerment Project is the first documented HIV prevention intervention for young gay/bisexual men to succeed in reducing sexual risk behavior. The program has been carefully developed, evaluated, and continually refined over the course of 12 years by prominent behavioral scientists from the University of California, San Francisco’s Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS), a leading-edge HIV/AIDS research institution.

It has been rigorously evaluated in two cities (Eugene, Oregon and Santa Barbara, California). In both cities it reduced the rates of unprotected anal intercourse among young gay/bisexual men. The Mpowerment Project is listed in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Compendium of HIV Prevention Interventions with Evidence of Effectiveness.

The CAPS study also looked at the impact of the Mpowerment Project since highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) — the drug “cocktail”— has become available. Data showed that the EBI resulted in a slight decrease (-12%) in risk behavior among young gay/bisexual men in Albuquerque, NM, while during the same time period, the risk behaviors in comparison communities rose dramatically. Young gay/bisexual men in the comparison cities, Phoenix, AZ and Austin,TX, reported a 24% and 42% increase in unprotected anal sex respectively.

Core Components

Site Activities

  • Recruit and maintain a core group of 12 to 20 young gay and bisexual men to design and carry out project activities
  • Recruit volunteers to help deliver services and make important decisions about the project
  • Use coordinators to oversee project activities
  • Establish a dedicated project space where many activities can be held
  • Convene a community advisory board

Participant Activities

  • Condom distribution
  • Conduct formal outreach, including educational activities and social events
  • Conduct informal outreach to influence behavior change
  • Convene peer-led, one-time discussion groups (called M-groups)
  • Conduct a publicity campaign about the project within the community

Basic Training

Trainings are for organizations that receive funding to run an Mpowerment project. The Mpowerment website has information on upcoming trainings, phone and web-based technical assistance, and a 10-minute audio-slideshow. The three-day, in-person training is free, with the exception of travel costs.


Page last updated: February 2018