SEATTLE, Wash. — Karina Walters, Ph.D., a principal investigator from the University of Washington, is doing research on Native American and Alaska Native men who have sex with men with the Virtual Two-Spirit Project.

An initiative of the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute at the university, the project’s intervention facilitates positive sexual health behaviors and promotes HIV risk-harm reduction strategies.

The Virtual Two-Spirit intervention utilizes a computer downloadable virtual reality world, where participants create their own avatar and go through experiential modules in learning about HIV testing, harm reduction techniques, condom use and condom use negotiation, and behavioral role play. The expected outcomes for participants who go through the intervention include: an increase in HIV testing, more reliable condom use and awareness and practice of harm reduction behaviors. Results of this study will be used to further refine and tailor the intervention for a larger study.

Eligible participants who complete the three-week intervention and online assessments can receive up to $190 in incentives.

The study is actively recruiting participants nationally to test the Virtual Two-Spirit intervention. Eligibility criteria include: being or identification as American Indian or Alaska Native; 18 years of age minimum; an active email address, regular access to a computer with internet, and the ability to download free software; male [or identify as a male] who has sex with men; and HIV negative or do not know current HIV status.

Contact the research team for more information.

info: 971-251-0402.

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Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.