Sexual health: evidence based practice and LGB research
Centre for Education and Inclusion Research Sheffield Hallam University Sheffield, UK
This paper reports on a UK research project with men who have sex with men (MSM), including those who identified themselves as gay or bisexual. The research sought to further understanding about the behaviours of gay and bisexual men and MSM in relation to sexual activity, and sexual health more broadly, with a view to informing service development. Participants completed detailed self-completion surveys and some men participated in follow-up in-depth interviews. The resultant data includes interesting findings about: influences on types of sexual activity; common understandings of "safe sex"; expectations in relation to safer sex, and what men said they wanted from sexual health services. With concern increasing in the UK about the high numbers of new sexually transmitted infection diagnoses, including HIV, particularly among younger men who have sex with men, there is a need to add to understanding about the views of MSM in relation to sexual health in its broadest sense, including views on, and experiences of, so-called "risk behaviours", and access to services. The paper will draw out implications for service development, and future research, highlighting the potential for strong partnerships in lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) health research between researchers, practitioners, and LGB communities and activists in order to influence policy and practice, and ultimately LGB health and well-being.