Hermanos de Luna y Sol

An Empowerment HIV Prevention Program for Spanish-Speaking Latino Gay/Bisexual Men

Latino gay/bisexual men in the U.S. have been highly and disproportionately affected by the AIDS epidemic. The program “Hermanos de Luna y Sol” (HLS) was designed as a culturally-appropriate HIV risk-reduction intervention that targets immigrant, Spanish-speaking gay/bisexual men in the San Francisco, CA Mission district.

The aims of the program are the following:

  • Provide experiences of social support, social belonging, and enhanced self-esteem in the context of a Latino gay identity and community;
  • Promote critical awareness of social and cultural forces that impact and shape participant’s social and sexual lives’
  • Increase participant’s sexual self-knowledge, with particular emphasis on sexual contexts and situations of personal vulnerability that limit participants’ ability to practice safer sex, and:
  • Facilitate community involvement and activism to support a sense of increased personal agency and self-efficacy (instead of fatalism and victimization) in response to oppressive social forces in participants’ lives.

Based on research findings about Latino gay/bisexual men, Bandura’s theory of self-regulation, and principles of empowerment education, HLS aims to intervene in a culturally-appropriate manner with four factors that weaken the enactment of safer sex intentions:

  • low self-esteem
  • perceptions of low sexual control
  • lack of social support
  • fatalism regarding inevitability of HIV infection

By providing opportunities for group reflection and critical self-observation within the domain of sexuality, by providing a network of peer social support for the practice of safer sex, and sponsoring activities that support self-esteem and pride for being Latino and gay/bisexual, the program intervenes with and attempts to modify factors that promote HIV risk behavior in this particular population.


HLS consists of three types of interrelated interventions. Please see detailed descriptions of the program activities.

  1. Bar outreach and recruitment activities;
  2. Six-week initial discussion workshops with structured sessions designed to promote self-esteem, social support and sexual self-regulation; and
  3. A set of follow-up resources and activites targeted to the maintenance of safer sex behavior over time, including participation in ongoing peer support groups, specialized workshops and retreats, and access to individual risk reduction counseling services.

Testimonies of participants’ reactions to the program


We are conducting an ongoing evaluation of the program, including quantitative data on participants’ satisfaction and the program’s impact on self-esteem, social support, self-efficacy, perceptions of sexual control, and safer sex behavior.

Please see the latest report of the program evaluation for HLS from January 1, 2001.

Also, San Francisco State University’s César E. Chávez Institute has more information about Hermanos de Luna y Sol.

Last modified: October 22, 2012