Engaging the business sector across Europe in HIV prevention that targets men who have sex with men (MSM)

Published: July 22, 2010

Engaging the business sector across Europe in HIV prevention that targets men who have sex with men (MSM)

L. McDonnell1, N. Sherriff1, B. Tunstall2

1University of Brighton, International Health Development Research Centre, Brighton, United Kingdom, 2Terence Higgins Trust, Health Improvement, Brighton, United Kingdom

Issue: Men who have sex with men (MSM) are one of the key ´at risk´ groups of HIV transmission in many countries of the European Union. ´Gay tourism´ is a widespread phenomenon with the internet and cheaper travel facilitating increased opportunities for men to have sex with men.
Description: Co-funded by the European Commission, the Everywhere Project is a consortium comprising partners from the UK, Italy, France, Poland, Cyprus, Slovenia, Spain and Hungary. The project aims to develop and validate an innovative and culturally adapted European model of HIV prevention targeting MSM across Europe. This paper will report on the findings of 54 in-depth interviews conducted by social mediators with managers and owners of MSM-related businesses eg saunas, pubs and clubs, travel agents and hotels. The interviews explored the business sector´s attitudes to and ability to support HIV prevention initiatives and the benefits of a Europe-wide seal of social responsibility in HIV prevention. Specific elements of the proposed seal were canvassed eg provision of prevention materials and information about HIV testing and treatment and sexual health matters, staff training, cleaning and hygiene activities and a committment to anti discrimation for HIV positive people.
Lessons learned: A number of distinct themes emerged from the qualitative data analysis including: diverse cultural perspectives on and contexts for HIV prevention; heterogeneity of MSM target group; and key role of NGOs in HIV prevention. This paper will elicit common strategies and synergies from across the partnership and present a model of HIV prevention for a range of different MSM-related businesses.
Next steps: While the cultural, historical, political, economical and legal differences between the different countries of Europe are important challenges for the Everywhere Project, these same challenges also present important opportunities for cross cultural transfer of knowledge between partners and across Europe.

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