HIV Within the House Ball Community and the Promise of Community-Based Social Structures for Intervention and Support



The House Ball Community, made up of houses and the elaborate balls that they organize and perform in, exists in a number of cities across the United States. These social activities and alliances represent safe spaces for young (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people) to give and receive affirmation for non-heteronormative gender and sexual identities. Recent funding for HIV prevention activities, in conjunction with a policy of test and treat, has led to departments of health and community-based organizations supporting balls as a way to capture young men who have sex with men of color and transgender women of color in particular for HIV testing and case detection. We discuss the importance of the social structures underpinning the elaborate cultural practices of the House Ball Community, their implications for providing support for HIV prevention and treatment for community members, and suggestions for future research with the House Ball Community.


House ball community HIV prevention Black GLBT communities Gender systems Urban ethnography HIV-related stigma Prevention houses Prevention balls 


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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, Department of MedicineUniversity of California, San Francisco (UCSF)San FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Women and Gender Studies Program, School of Social TransformationArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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