Men who have sex with men have been invited to take part in a new survey on HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and what they think needs to be done to prevent them.

Thge senior lecturer at the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, Garret Prestage, told Sydney Star Observer the Pash-On survey was a follow up to the national Pash study conducted last year.

“The survey will be running for about a month and we’d encourage all gay men to take part,” Pretage said.

“Pash-On is to follow up on some particular issues, mainly around what gay men think would be likely to work as a way of reducing infections and what they’d be prepared to do.

“We’re asking questions around whether they’d be prepared to change their sexual behaviour in certain ways or the way that they get tested.”

Prestage said information collected during the Pash survey was still being analysed but certain things had stood out already, particularly the need for a greater variety of resources targeting different groups of gay men.

“Essentially, what it told us was that gay men think about HIV and the risks involved in a lot of different ways — some of them well informed and very detailed in the amount of information that they have, and others having really very little idea and very little contact with people with HIV,” he said.

“Gay men are in general very well informed about HIV and sexual health in general. If you ask the average gay man about HIV or ask them about sexual health in general and you ask the average heterosexual person, a gay man is on average going to know a lot more.

“But not all gay men need the same things out of HIV education and what they want are ways of thinking about HIV and information about HIV that suit their needs ­— and that’s often going to be quite different.”

Prestage said it was vital that information resources be targeted to fit those needs.
“Nowadays, to talk to gay men about HIV you need to come from a whole lot of different perspectives,” he said.

“You need to be prepared to talk to men who know very little and men who know a lot and engage them in ways that speak to where they’re at.”

info: To take part visit www.nchecrsurveys.unsw.edu.au/pash/PASH-ON/page-1.html

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