The Mpowerment Project is a model community building and HIV prevention program that has been designed specifically to address the needs of young adult gay/bisexual men ages 18 – 29. It is the first documented HIV prevention intervention for young gay/bisexual men to succeed in reducing sexual risk behavior. The program has been developed, evaluated and continually refined by prominent behavioral scientists from the University of California, San Francisco's Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, the largest research center in the world dedicated to social, behavioral and policy science approaches to HIV.
In 1999, it was one of the first programs to be included in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Compendium of HIV Prevention Interventions with Evidence of Effectiveness. It is the only program included that is designed specifically to address the HIV Prevention needs of young gay/bisexual men and other young men who have sex with men (MSM). The Mpowerment Project uses outreach, a drop-in center and community-building efforts to strengthen young gay men's self-esteem, positive relationships, and social support. </ref> The project addresses HIV testing, PrEP, condoms use and staying on one's medications if one is living with HIV. Additionally, the project addresses interpersonal and social factors that affect the lives of young gay/bisexual men.
Recognizing the critical need for HIV prevention programs for young gay/bisexual men, Dr. Susan Kegeles and Dr. Robert Hays (1955-2001), research psychologists at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) at the University of California, San Francisco, applied for funding to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to design, implement, and evaluate a community-level HIV prevention program for young gay/bisexual men. Their five-year grant was awarded in 1990.
They pilot tested the program in Santa Cruz, CA. Based on encouraging results there, they refined the program and implemented it in a second community (Eugene, OR), where it was named the Mpowerment Project. Following the program's success in Eugene, it was replicated in Santa Barbara, CA. In 1995 Drs. Kegeles and Hays received a second five-year grant form the NIMH to further develop the program for use in major metropolitan areas across the U.S. Dr. Greg Rebchook, a research psychologist who had worked at a department of public health and at a community-based organization, joined the team in 1996. This new grant enabled them to implement the Mpowerment Project in Albuquerque, NM – where the project was called MPower (1997–1998); and in Austin, TX – where the project was called Austin Men's Project / AMP (1999–2000). Since 2002, numerous organizations have implemented the program with varying success.
The Mpowerment Project is cost-effective compared with many other HIV prevention strategies. The cost per HIV infection prevented is far less than the lifetime medical costs of HIV disease. In 2005 the RAND Corporation developed a mathematical model of the cost of a wide variety of HIV prevention interventions. The Mpowerment Project is listed as the most cost-effective intervention.
The project is made of the Core Group, volunteers, and the Community Advisory Board (CAB).
The Core Group consists of 10-15 members who represent the demographics of that particular project's local gay and bisexual men's community. Volunteers are those who cannot devote as much time to the Core Group, but would still like to contribute. Volunteers are what help the program be as cost effective as it is.
The Community Advisory Board (CAB) is available for the Core Group and volunteers. Consisting of members of the LGBT community, the CAB provide relevant advice for the Core Group and volunteers of GBT young adults.
The Mpowerment Project Manual
The Mpowerment Project manual was released in 2002 and updated in 2010. The project manual is a free download on the Mpowerment Project website. The individually bound modules cover the following program components:
- Module 1: Overview
- Module 2: Community Assessment – Knowing your community
- Module 3: Implementing Agency
- Module 4: Coordinators
- Module 5: Core Group & Volunteers
- Module 6: Project Space
- Module 7: Formal Outreach – Social outreach events and outreach team
- Module 8: Informal Outreach
- Module 9: M-Groups
- Module 10: Publicizing the Mpowerment Project
- Module 11: The Community Advisory Board
- Module 12: Monitoring and Evaluation
- Module 13: M-Group Facilitator’s Guide
- Module 14: M-Group Meeting Guide
- Adaptation of the Mpowerment Project to African American / Black gay and bisexual men/MSM
- Adaptation of the Mpowerment Project to Latino gay and bisexual men/MSM
- Spanish translation of the Mpowerment manual
Mpowerment Projects in the United States
- Birmingham - MPowerment
- Anchorage – AMP Anchorage Men's Project
- Pocatello – Genesis Project
- Boise - mpowermentBOI hosted by Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS
- Bloomington – IlluMENate
- Iowa City – Mpowerment Iowa City
- Asbury Park - Project R.E.A.L
- Trenton – E=MC2: Empowering Men 2 Create Change
- Camden - Project K.I.S. Keeping It Safe
- Cleveland - Beyond Identities Community Center
- Columbus - Greater Columbus Mpowerment Center - 
- Dayton – Mu Crew
- Toledo - Toledo Mpowerment
The Mu Crew
- Charleston - CHAMP CHarleston Area Mpowerment Project
The M Factor
- Salt Lake City – The Village
- Olympia - Mpowerment Olympia
- Seattle – The MPowerment Project
- Spokane - Inland Northwest Men's Experience (INMx)
- Kegeles, S.M., Rebchook, G., Zovod, B., Tebbetts, S., Sweeney, D., The Mpowerment Project Manual, University of California San Francisco (2002)
- Kegeles, S. M.; Hays, R. B.; Coates, T. J. (1996). "Kegeles, S.M., Hayes, R. B., & Coates. T.M. (1996) The Mpowerment Project: A community-level HIV prevention intervention for young gay men. American Journal of Public Health, 86(8), II29-II36 2013-17-2". American Journal of Public Health. 86 (8 Pt 1): 1129–1136. doi:10.2105/ajph.86.8_pt_1.1129. PMC 1380625. PMID 8712273.
- "Compendium of HIV Prevention Interventions with Evidence of Effectiveness". Archived from the original on 2008-03-08. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
- "JM Androite,The Power of Choosing Resilience. 2013-17-2". The Atlantic. 17 February 2013.
- Kegeles, S.M., Hays, R.B., Pllack, L. M. & Coates, T.J. (1999). Mobilizing young gay and bisexual men for HIV prevention: a two-community study. AIDS, I3(I3), 1753–1762.
- "The Mpowerment Project: New Location, Same Mission". Retrieved 2010-11-10.
- "Program takes up fight against AIDS among young black men". Retrieved 2010-04-29.
- "VIDA/SIDA Launching Innovative New Programs". Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- "Come Out and Play on M-Day". Retrieved 2009-01-19.
- "On the radar: Young, black LGBT Detroiters raising profile, building community". 20 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- "On the radar: A special place for LGBTQ youth and young adults". Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- "Vegas MPowerment Project promotes HIV/AIDS awareness among young gay men". Retrieved 2010-03-10.
- "Mpowerment Detroit to host first-ever Red Tie Affair". 26 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
- Kahn, J. G., Kegeles, S. M., Hays, R., & Beltzer, N. (2001). Cost-effectiveness of the Mpowerment Project, a community-level intervention for young gay men. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 27(5), 482-491.
- Cohen DA, Wu S-Y, and Farley TA, “Cost-Effective Allocation of Government Funds to Prevent HIV Infection,” Health Affairs, Vol. 24, No. 4, July/August 2005, pp. 915–926.
- Hays, R. B.; Rebchook, G. M.; Kegeles, S. M. (2003). "Hays, R.B., Rebchook, G.M., & Kegeles, S.M. (2003) The Mpowerment Project: Community-Building With Young Gay and Bisexual Men to Prevent HIV. American Journal of Community Psychology, 31, 301-312". American Journal of Community Psychology. 31 (3–4): 301–12. doi:10.1023/A:1023966905973. PMID 12866687. S2CID 36038235.
- Kegeles, S.M., Rebchook, G., Hamiga, J. Sweeney, D., Tebbetts.S, Williams.R, Zovod. B, The Mpowerment Project Manual, University of California San Francisco (2010)
- "What El Paso is doing to lower its high HIV rate". Retrieved 2010-11-10.