Sigma Research

EMIS-2017: Review and assessment of sexual health of MSM across Europe

Duration: August 2016 - August 2019

The first round of consultation on the broad contents of the EMIS 2017 questionnaire occurred in November and December 2016 and is now closed. Overall, more than 50 agencies responded, from 21 European countries, plus pan-European agencies and some researchers from the USA. The basis for consultation was the question stems (without response sets) of the EMIS 2010 survey. We asked people to: nominate questions for cutting; suggest new topics to be included; and highlight problems with existing question stems.

The second round of consultation on the EMIS-2017 questionnaire occured in March and April 2017 and is now closed. Thanks you to all that took part. We are currently considering the 35 sets of feedback we received and working on the next iteration of the whole survey questionnaire. We plan to begin pilotting and cognitive testing of the survey (in English) in May 2017.

Sigma @ LSHTM with a range of partners has been funded as part of the European Commission Health Programme 2014-2020 to deliver evidence about the sexual health of gay men, bisexual men and other MSM across Europe. Called ESTICOM (European Surveys and Trainings to Improve MSM Community Health) the partnership will deliver on three inter-linked projects over the next three years:

  1. A pan-European online survey of MSM (European MSM Internet Survey, EMIS-2017).
  2. A pan-European online survey about knowledge, attitudes, practices and training needs of community health workers (CHW) who provide health-related services and support for MSM in EU countries (European Community Health Worker Online Survey – ECHOES). The survey will be targeted at all people who deliver sexual health-related services - including but not limited to counselling, testing, condom distribution, psychosocial care and support – outside of traditional medical settings to gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
  3. Development and piloting of a training programme for MSM-focused community health workers intended to be adaptable for all EU countries.

Alongside the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin, Sigma will take a lead on the first objective, an online survey similar to the European MSM Internet Survey (EMIS) which occured in 2010. The overall aim of the MSM survey is to generate data useful for the planning of HIV and STI prevention and care programmes and the monitoring of national progress in this area (by comparing with the results of previous surveys), by describing the level and distribution of HIV transmission risk and precautionary behaviours, related HIV prevention needs, and by assessing self-reported STI testing behaviours, testing performance, and various STI diagnoses, including viral hepatitis.

At a country level, the MSM survey will generate data for understanding the needs of populations and directing prevention programmes. At the international level, patterns of policy, service and cultural responses can be examined for their impact on epidemic spread and containment, providing knowledge beyond the grasp of any one country. The survey is preceded and informed by a review of what is known about the prevalence and incidence of HIV and STIs including viral hepatitis (B/C), what is known about the risk and precautionary behaviours of gay men, bisexual men and other MSM with regard to HIV and other STIs, and a policy and practice mapping exercise considering the likely barriers (legal, structural, provider and individual) for the effective implementation of prevention, diagnosis and treatment interventions targeting MSM.

The first four Work Packages (WP 1-4) of ESTICOM constitute the MSM survey element of the overall project and will be known as EMIS-2017. EMIS-2017 will be coordinated by Sigma Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in association with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin. Between them these two organisations will deliver all work packages associated with EMIS-2017.

  • WP1 - Robert Koch Institute - Review of the sexual health, HIV/AIDS, STI, viral hepatitis (B/C) epidemiological, and policy situation in the EU and neighbouring countries, among MSM.
  • WP2 - led by Sigma Research - MSM online survey development.
  • WP3 - led by Sigma Research - Promotion and execution of survey in at least 20 European languages.
  • WP4 - led by Sigma Research - Analysis of survey data including funders reports and academic outputs.

Key contact for Sigma: Axel J. Schmidt

ESTICOM Partnership


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