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.

RIISH online survey

RIISH online survey

RiiSH online survey of gay men & other MSM examines knowledge and attitudes towards STIs. It is undertaken by Sigma in collaboration with Public Health England and University College London as part of a Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) on Blood-borne and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). See survey at www.RiiSH.uk


EMIS (ESTICOM)

EMIS (ESTICOM)

EMIS-2017 - the pan-European survey of MSM will occur for the second time later in 2017. The first full draft of the proposed questionnaire is now out for consultation.

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.

SHARP

SHARP

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

Chemsex

Chemsex

Click here to see our forth paper (chemsex social norms) from our qualitative study on chemsex among gay men in south London.


Barriers & facilitators to HIV self-testing among UK gay men and other 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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