Methodological considerations for conducting focus groups in HIV prevention research among Black men who have sex with men

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Public Health Nursing

Publication Date


Date Added



Introduction Focus groups are an important learning tool in HIV prevention research among U.S. Black men who have sex with men (BMSM), for whom incidence persists. Focus groups are useful in designing interventions, but many have struggled to engage BMSM in research. To optimize the utility of focus group methodology on HIV prevention among BMSM, this paper offers methodological considerations for conducting and managing focus groups with BMSM. Methods Perspectives come from the process of conducting nine focus groups (N = 52) to explore the role of religion and spirituality in the lives of BMSM in Baltimore City and how these concepts could be used to inform local HIV prevention interventions. Results Themes from field notes captured important concepts to consider regarding the following: recruitment and retention, recruiting from within the social network, screening for HIV status, focus group stratification, and focus group facilitation. Discussion Considerations and recommendations for mitigating the challenges in focus group research and enriching data collection with BMSM are outlined.




Social Work