Qualitative results from the Health in Middlesex Men Matters (HiMMM) project
D. Pugh1, T. Coleman2, S. Baidoobonso2, G. Aykroyd3, G. Bauer2, M. Defend3, P. Mc Carty-Johnston4, R. Newman5
1AIDS Committee of London, Ontario, Education & Prevention, London, Canada, 2University of Western Ontario, Epidemiology & Biostatistics, London, Canada, 3St. Joseph’s Infectious Disease Care Program, London, Canada, 4AIDS Committee of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, 5AIDS Committee of London, Ontario, London, Canada
Issues: In 2006, the AIDS Committee of London, Ontario, Canada (ACOL) held a LGBT2SQ Health Forum to initiate discussion around local health concerns. Three topics emerged: homophobia (internal/external); isolation and social exclusion; and communication. Little data pertaining to gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GB-MSM) communities is available for local prevention work. The Health in Middlesex Men Matters (HiMMM) Project was hence formed to examine impacts of these factors on HIV and health care within regional GB-MSM.
Description: Twenty (20) interviews with community members and service providers identified knowledge gaps related to aforementioned factors. GB-MSM were identified using purposive sampling based on characteristics including age, ethnicity, HIV status, geographical dispersion, and sexual orientation. Service providers were selected based on occupations. Interview transcripts were analyzed using modified grounded theory.
Lessons learned: Interviews occurred over six months. Participants’ ages ranged from 17 to 76. Interacting with service providers, GB-MSM were uncomfortable speaking about sexual health, and felt sexual orientation should only be disclosed if relevant to the issue at hand. The Internet wascommonly used for meeting other GB-MSM and acquiring health information. Men accessed HIV testing through sources other than primary caregivers (e.g. sexual health clinics). Sex was seen as important to health and wellness. Self-defined risky behaviour was common. Participants believed doctors should be more inclusive when providing care, and felt women had less difficulty accessing social services. Gay nightclubs and bars were seen as prominent social bases in the community, despite participants rarely attending these. Respondents relayed that although GB-MSM friends are important, locally, they are difficult to make.
Next steps: Findings will formulate a quantitative survey delivered through respondent-driven sampling. Results from all phases of the HiMMM Project will guide local prevention efforts and be utilized to press for greater focus on sexual orientation diversity in local service provision.
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