U of M to phase out 20-year-old HIV seminar programby Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A nearly 20-year-old HIV seminar program at the University of Minnesota is being retired because attendance has dropped.
The Man-to-Man Sexual Health Seminars enrolled as many as 300 men a year at the program's height. Those numbers have fallen to fewer than two dozen participants in recent years.
Principle investigator Simon Rosser said the seminar was created during a tough time for gay men, but that era has mostly passed. He said at the height of the AIDS epidemic the seminars provided a deeply moving experience for many participants.
"Homosexuality was still illegal in several states; there was no state where anyone could get married; discrimination in employment was legal in over half the states in the U.S.," Rosser said. "We're living in a very different world. You know the rate of change there has increased incredibly."
Rosser said many gay men now look online if they want to find information about HIV. He said university researchers are already developing ways to transfer some of their prevention information to an online audience.