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Russian Arm of European MSM Internet Survey

Project title Russian Arm of European MSM Internet Survey
Database Data manually inserted in the NDPHS Database
ID in the source database 1166
Thematic area HIV/AIDS
Topic Behavioural surveillance in the MSM Population
Project geographical area Russia
Substate level / administrative units /regions no data
Lead partner (organisation) German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ)
Lead partner (owner or/and project manager) no data
Partner organisations Population Services International Russia
Start date 2009-03-01
End date 2011-08-31
Duration (months) 30
Target audience Men having sex with men who live in the Russian Federation
Summary Objectives: The Russian MSM Internet Survey is a project associated with an EU funded project that aims at piloting an innovative web-based EU-wide monitoring system to collect self-reported data from MSM on sexual risk related behaviours and sexual health and information needs. This will allow for an improved comparability of behavioural and epidemiological data between MSM communities in the EU Memberstates and neighbouring countries like Russia. Survey results will help to identify prevention and health care needs in different MSM communities and countries. Primary objective of the proposal is the development and implementation of a common core questionnaire for Web-based behavioural surveys among MSM in the EU and neighbouring countries for usage in a future European 2nd generation behavioural surveillance for HIV/ STI. The establishment of a 2nd generation behavioural surveillance system is one of the priorities of HIV-related activities of WHO/UNAIDS in the European Region. The main objective of 2nd generation surveillance is to monitor risk behaviour trends over time in order to provide essential data needed for the development of interventions and the evaluation of their impact . Secondary objectives are knowledge transfer regarding Internet surveys among MSM to countries with less experience. Methods: Scientists who already have experience with internet surveys in MSM and scientists who so far only have experience with print questionnaires and venue-based sampling will collaborate in this project to develop a common set of core questions, conduct a simultaneous multilingual internet survey promoted on popular MSM websites all over Europe, and will jointly analyse and interpret the survey results. Expected results: The project will provide the collaborating countries and institutions with an up-to-date and comprehensive survey of knowledge, attitudes and behaviours and resulting prevention challenges in a population group highly affected by HIV and STI.
Background HIV prevention is one of the top issues on the European public health agenda and in the EU countries MSM are the largest affected domestic community. In Eastern Europe, including Russia and the Baltic countries, IDU are the largest group affected by HIV. However, sexual transmission of HIV is gradually becoming more important also in Eastern Europe. Beyond sexual partners of intravenous drug users, sexworkers and their clients, and MSM are likely to become the groups most at risk for sexual transmission of HIV in Eastern Europe in the future. However, due to the large stigma attached to homosexuality in Eastern European societies, considerable underreporting of same sex sexual relationships as reasons for HIV and STI transmission in the statutory surveillance systems has to be expected. There has been little collaboration between EU and neighbouring countries in the area of behavioural surveillance and prevention in MSM communities so far. Where collaboration exists, e.g. in first generation epidemiological surveillance, comparability of data is hampered by partial lack of data, different methodologies, surveillance and health care systems. Developing and conducting a common multilingual internet survey will advance harmonisation of survey methodologies, generate comparable data on behavioural and epidemiological indicators for MSM communities, help to identify unmet prevention needs, inadequacies of prevention policies, and urgent prevention research questions. Developing a common set of core questions will also allow better comparability of future national or regional surveys and reporting on international level (like UNGASS indicators for UNAIDS). The survey results can thus form the basis for a common understanding of prevention challenges in MSM communities, for intensified cooperation of NGOs and prevention agencies to improve sexual health in MSM communities, and for increased engagement in the new field of internet prevention. Particularly MSM communities in the new EU member states and the neighbouring countries in the East, in which these communities are less organized and can not yet rely on a well developed and differentiated community infrastructure, may benefit from such an engagement.
The venues for acquiring behavioural data on MSM have become more specific and diverse. Surveys of MSM focus on places where they can be reached, such as gay newspapers and other publications, gay organizations, gay venues, and gay websites. The added value of the EMIS project lies in the possibility of collecting data through a system - the web - that allows a selection of the sample from the target population that may be more diverse than the samples selected through traditional methods based on gay press, gay venues, and medical settings. Websites ensure a sense of anonymity, where MSM are able to be more candid in reporting of high-risk sexual activities, HIV status, and related risk behaviours. In many cases, feedback in such survey locations is also possible. For example, results of MSM surveys can be presented in the websites where they were taken from. The use of online surveys provides a valuable opportunity to reach young MSM or MSM who are hard to reach with other communication channels such as the press, social clubs or associations, and cultural venues. With a multilingual survey it may also be possible to increase access to MSM who have migrated to other countries, compared to national surveys, which are usually conducted only in the national language(s). Not only the primary target group, MSM, but also all involved partners and stakeholders are located in different European countries, on different levels of policy design and practical implementation. By lifting the prevention needs assessment to a European level the project will contribute to closer collaboration between the European institutions involved in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of HIV and STI. As the target group of MSM is not located in specific regions or parts of society, the project focuses on the virtual meeting spaces of MSM: Internet forums and websites. The project will generate expertise and experience in cooperation with MSM websites and evaluate challenges, chances and limitations in communicating with communities through virtual structures and internet-communities. The international design of the study requires and enables analysis of the comparability of national samples, of differences between countries, comparison between old and new EU member states, and neighbouring countries, extent, impact and consequences of migration and mobility in the MSM populations, and identification of similarities and differences in HIV and STI risk management strategies. International actors which are carrying out programs and monitoring concerning STI and HIV such as WHO/ UNAIDS and GFTAM will also benefit from the survey results.
Objectives General objective is to give input for improving 2nd generation surveillance and prevention work among MSM in the Russian Federation. To achieve this, the project will generate comparable data about HIV- and STI-related behaviours, HIV and STI prevention needs, gay community characteristics, and other sexual health-related issues among MSM in Russia, in the Baltics and other European countries by means of a common Internet survey, advertised and promoted on popular MSM websites and conducted in various European languages. The intended European survey will inform the planning of prevention interventions for MSM by identifying prevention needs unmet across diverse groups of MSM (priority aims), and identifying subgroups of MSM who have many prevention needs poorly met (priority target groups). Close collaboration with ECDC and WHO-Euro during the questionnaire development is intended , so that the survey can be used to generate baseline/reference data on surveillance and evaluation indicators. Essential indicators on behaviour of MSM as defined by ECDC and UNGASS indicators for MSM in countries with concentrated epidemics will be considered. The questionnaire will be translated to at least the following languages: Russian, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch. Further it is planned to translate the questionnaire into additional languages like Swedish, Danish, Portuguese, Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek, Slovenian, Serbian, Hungarian, Czech, Polish, Lithuanian, Estonian, and Ukrainian. The collaborating partners from the respective countries have committed to translate the common questionnaire and to pre-test the respective language version.
The project team will run a first common Internet survey advertised simultaneously on appropriate MSM websites in as many European countries and languages as possible. The results of the common survey will be jointly analysed, discussed and reported and separate national and language datasets will be provided to project partners and interested parties for further analysis.
Specific objectives/indicators • Identification of core questions for a common questionnaire;
• Reaching common understanding of using web-based monitoring system for 2nd generation surveillance among MSM;
• Ensuring high visibility and acceptability of the online survey;
• Preparing edited common and different national datasets for further analysis;
• Identification of differences and similarities between countries and MSM communities;
• Describing, interpreting and analysing the survey results;
• Disseminating survey reports and spreading information in European MSM communities;
• Inform European policy maker on the national and supranational level on the survey result.
Results no data
Total foreseen budget EUR 13,300
Total implementation costs
(for completed projects, if available)
no data
Conversion to € was done on
(according to the relevant
exchange rate at
Infoeuro Monthly Files)
no data
Financing agencies / organisations Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Project's URL / project's website www.emis-project.eu
Papers associated with this project no data
Further information no data
Last posted: on 2011-03-12 at 14:57:57

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