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Review of effectiveness of health promotion interventions for men who have sex with men

What do we want to know?

Men who have sex with men (MSM) are the largest group of people affected by HIV/AIDS in the industrialized west. There are indications that the behavioural changes of the early 1980s in the direction of safer sexual behaviour have not been maintained. This study identified and critically reviewed health promotion interventions in HIV prevention and sexual health for MSM. The aim was to inform future prevention strategy in the UK.

Who wants to know?

Policy-makers, practitioners, researchers, MSM.

What did we find?  

There is very little well-evaluated HIV prevention intervention work in this area. Much of the considerable intervention work in the UK, particularly at the community and local level has been service-led, and research and evaluation are at best an after-thought and at worst absent.

What are the implications?

  • Interventions aimed at influencing behavioural factors relevant to HIV/AIDS transmission targeted at MSM should be evaluated using reliable evaluation designs.
  • Future interventions should be targeted at particular groups, particularly young, working class and ethnic minority men, and should be tailor-made for those groups. Prior ethnographic research should be undertaken to identify the cultural context, values, beliefs, social mores and community norms of the targeted group, in order to develop the content and design of the intervention.
  • There should be greater co-ordination between researchers, programme developers and practitioners in producing interventions.

How did we get these results?

Five studies were synthesised, all from North America.

This summary was prepared by the EPPI Centre

This report should be cited as: Oakley A, Oliver S,  Peersman G, Mauthner M (1996) Review of effectiveness of health promotion interventions for men who have sex with men. London: EPPI Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. 

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