Sigma Research

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

Duration: October 2014 - March 2016

Sigma Research has partnered with Public Health England and University College London as part of a Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) 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 Sigma will focus on.

We intend to combine qualitative and quantitative methods to develop a Rapid Risk Assessment System (RRAS) for use among MSM populations attending sexual health clinics. In further phases of the study, social, behavioural and attitudinal data from the RRAS will be linked to clinical outcome data at an individual level. The RRAS aims to facilitate the collection of information about the context, extent and outcomes of risk behaviour, to facilitate the development of tailored risk-reduction interventions.

This will involve conducting 6-8 focussed discussion groups in 4 cities to formulate questions for the RRAS, especially those that concern perceptions of the risks of STIs other than HIV, where our existing bank of questions is less substantial and questions on clinic use and acceptability of this type of survey. In addition 20 cognitive interviews with MSM who attend clinics will gauge the acceptability of recruitment to and participation in RRAS and questions of ease of use, understanding, comprehension and validity.

Sigma will then work with a range of STI clinics to develop and pilot this RRAS.

Key contact for Sigma: Peter Weatherburn