Project Details


Passport to Wellness (PtW) is a research study designed to help African American men who have sex with men stay HIV negative or discover their HIV status and enter care if they already have HIV. PtW works with participants to develop a client-centered plan (aka Passport) to access the social and other services they want and need AND to reduce their risks for contracting other STDs. 

All participants receive the client-centered path to needed services, or Passport, along with incentives for accessing those services. These incentives are valued up to $220 over six months. Participants will also get $40 per survey for completing 2 surveys. This means that people who complete all the Passport items can earn up to $300 in gift cards.   

In addition, half of participants are assigned to a full-intervention group.  These participants will also select a Peer Mentor and be able to attend group social and educational field trips that include sporting events, TV show tapings, and museum visits.  Peer Mentors are trained members of the community who provide support, encouragement, and accompaniment to Passport-designated services.

Participant Expectations:

The Passport is designed to help participants address issues through a computer baseline assessment, as well as personal goals that were not identified but may get in the way of HIV/STD preventive behaviors if not addressed.The participant will work alongside the Project Director by identifying his own set of goals and steps toward addressing them. 

PtW participants will be asked to keep in contact with the research team, document the services they access, and complete the short interim assessments and follow-up interview.

All participants are encouraged to tell other people about the study and to encourage HIV testing among other Black MSM - via social media. Participants may do this per their level of comfort, enthusiasm, and privacy concerns.

The Passport to Wellness process includes:

1.      Screening to establish study eligibility.  Study open to at-risk adult Black MSM who test infrequently.

2.      Informed consent and enrollment at the downtown or Hollywood offices of the Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse (LA CADA).

3.      Baseline interview and needs assessment conducted on a computer with interviewer- and self-administered sections.

4.      Passport development Personalized service plan with specific referrals for services and incentives for participation.  This passport will allow the participant and (if applicable) his peer mentor to facilitate and track service utilization.

5.      Randomization: Participants are then assigned by chance to either

a.      The full PtW intervention group: Passport + Peer Mentor

b.      The Control intervention group: Passport only

6.      Interim Assessments: Two brief surveys are conducted over the phone and assess participants’ service utilization and experiences of the program itself.

7.      6-Month Follow Up Interview. One in-person survey assesses changes in service utilization and HIV testing, risk behaviors and knowledge, substance use, service needs, and symptoms of psychological distress.  


All participants may receive compensation valued up to $300 in Target Gift Cards, over a period of six months. This is based on how many passport items and surveys that they complete.  Compensation is received in the form of gift cards.

Each time a participant documents completion of a non-medical listed item on their passport, they will accumulate $5. Participants in the intervention group will also accumulate $5 every time they meet with their peer mentor. 

If a participant gets an HIV test they will accumulate $10; if they meet with a PrEP provider, they will receive $20. Other medical items listed include HIV primary care for those who test HIV antibody positive, an information session about PEP or PrEP for those who test negative, an STD test, or enrolling in Covered California.  Participants accumulate $10 each time they complete any of these medical items.

Every month, the participant may be able to redeem their accumulated funds on a reloadable Target gift card, by demonstrating completion of Passport items to their Peer Mentor or the PtW study team.

Alternatively, the participant may save their dollars in order to redeem a larger value once they have collected more. Every month that a participant saves their points rather than redeems them, he will accumulate an extra $10.