Sigma Research

RIISH: Reducing Inequalities and improving sexual health - Theme A of Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) on Blood-borne and sexually transmitted infections

Duration: October 2014 - March 2017

Sigma Research has partnered 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) funded by the National Institute of Health Research. This specific part of the overall HPRU (Theme A) will focus on ‘understanding risk and risk reduction’. While the research more broadly identifies three key priority populations including people of Black Caribbean ethnicity and those describing their ethnicity as ‘Black other’, people who inject drugs and gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), it is the third group which we focus on. Our part of the overall project aims to facilitate the collection of information about the context, extent and outcomes of sexual risk behaviour, to facilitate the development of tailored risk-reduction interventions for gay men and other men that have sex with men.

We have already conducted 8 focussed discussion groups in 4 cities to formulate questions for the survey phase of the study. The groups informed the development of a survey which focussed on how gay men and other MSM perceived sexually transmitted infections other than HIV. To test the survey and the linkage of social, behavioural and attitudinal data from it with clinical outcome data at an individual level we have piloted data collection in STI six clinics in Birmingham, Leeds, London and Manchester. We are now planning to run a very similar version of the survey online, with recruitment promoted via a selection of popular gay social and sexual networking apps. While the online, community-recruited survey will not include linkage to biological testing for STIs the larger sample size allows us to consider variations in findings across key demographic groups and allows us to compare clinic-recruited and community-recruited samples.

The community-recruited survey will run throughout March 2017. If you would like to go to the survey, click on the image below.

Key contact for Sigma: Peter Weatherburn