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Treating HIV and substance use disorders in gay Black men

Opioid Response Network trainings that help others address racism and homophobia for better outcomes

Photo of Larry and BenLeft: Larry Bryant,
Advanced Implementation Scientist

Right: Benjamin H. Nguyễn,
ORN Technology Transfer Specialist

The Request

Benjamin H. Nguyễn, MSW, ASW, CPH, is ORN’s representative for the American Southwest. If you’re in New Mexico, Arizona or Nevada and seek out ORN for education and training, it’s Ben on the other end of the line.

Recently, Ben received a request for training from the Nevada Pacific AIDS Education and Training Center. “They were preparing for their annual conference for HIV care providers and were looking for a speaker on best practices for substance use disorder treatment and recovery with a focus on the LGBTQ+ community and racial disparities. It was a perfect fit for ORN,” said Ben.

Photo of Lianne and Etiel Forman requested help creating substance use prevention curriculum. Larry Bryant, PhD, MPH, BSW, RRT, ORN
Advanced Implementation Scientist

The Work

For the job Ben worked closely with ORN Advanced Implementation Scientist Larry Bryant, PhD, MPH, BSW, RRT. “Their goal was to give providers actionable steps to take in working with this population; specifically with same gender loving African American men,” said Dr. Bryant. “One in two gay Black men are at risk for HIV and this population has unique experiences that can also lead to substance use disorders. But it’s possible to treat both health issues, and this audience was eager for best practices.”


Dr. Bryant crafted a training to share immediate actions and long-term strategies to apply to their work. This included affirmative language to use when communicating with patients; education on how to structure specific situations so that LGBTQ+ patients feel comfortable in sharing private information; and how best to engage this population in treatment. “It was also largely a discussion on common life experiences that often influence the behaviors of gay Black men. Providers need to understand where these patients are and then meet them there in order to effectively address their treatment and recovery needs,” added Dr. Bryant.

Substance use disorders are complex medical diseases that often co-exist with other health issues like HIV. This is why it's essential that the Opioid Response Network (and everyone!) recognize and address intersectionality across the continuum of care and in our work educating and training the masses. Anyone can submit a request at to have a free training delivered similar to what Ben and Dr. Bryant provided in Nevada.


What are YOUR needs and how can ORN help?