Sigma Research
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Sigma Research is a research group specialising in the social, behavioural and policy aspects of HIV and sexual health. It is part of the Faculty of Public Health and Policy at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Chemsex among gay men in South London

Chemsex among gay men in South London

New paper on "Motivations and values associated with chemsex" just published. Click here to see all outputs from our qualitative study on chemsex among gay men.


Gay Men's Sex Survey

Gay Men's Sex Survey

Our final report from the Gay Men's Sex Survey 2014, which recruited more than 15,000 gay men and other MSM living in England.

SHARP programme

SHARP programme

A mapping and appraisal of HIV prevention and care interventions undertaken for MSM in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda & Zimbabwe.

ASK evaluation

ASK evaluation

An evaluation of youth-led advocacy for the sexual & reproductive health rights of young people with HIV in Uganda and Kenya.

Human Rights Count!

Human Rights Count!

We supported GNP+ in developing an evidence-gathering tool to enable key populations with HIV to document rights violations.The outcome is better informed advocacy for people with HIV.


Barriers & facilitators to HIV self-testing among UK MSM

Innovative strategies such as HIV self-testing (HIVST) could increase testing rates and diagnosis in a variety of populations but evidence to inform the design of an HIVST intervention in the UK is scarce. This qualitative study aimed to understand values and preferences for HIVST among MSM in the UK. We explore the acceptability of HIVST in the context of known barriers and facilitators to testing for HIV; assess preferences for, and the concerns about, HIVST. Six focus group discussions were conducted with 47 MSM in London, Manchester and Plymouth. Convenience and confidentiality of HIVST was seen to facilitate testing. Issues with domestic privacy problematised confidentiality. The window period was the most important element of an HIVST intervention, with strong preference for 4th generation testing. Kits which used a blood sample were more popular than those using saliva due to higher perceived accuracy although aversion to needles and/or blood meant some would only access HIVST via a saliva option. A range of access options was important to maintain convenience and privacy. HIVST kits were assumed to increase frequency of testing, with concerns related to the dislocation of HIV testing from sexual health services. Utility of HIVST arises from relatively high levels of confidentiality and convenience but until 4th generation assays are available HIVST will be seen as supplementary in a UK context.

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