Generational differences in sources of first MSM-specific sex education among MSM in Switzerland

Published: July 22, 2010

Generational differences in sources of first MSM-specific sex education among MSM in Switzerland

A. Jeannin, S. Lociciro, B. Spencer, F. Dubois-Arber

University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Lausanne, Switzerland

Background: Although sex education at school addressed to the general population (i.e. mostly heterosexual) is widespread in Switzerland, little is known about the spread of MSM-specific sex education. This study provides a generation-based analysis of the context in which gay men received MSM-specific HIV/AIDS prevention advice for the first time.
Methods: Data from a 2009 cross-sectional survey among a convenience sample of Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) living in Switzerland. Respondents were recruited through online questionnaires, paper questionnaires inserted in the main gay newspapers and among members of gay or HIV/AIDS NGOs. We inquired about the context where respondents had first been given advice about HIV/AIDS prevention specific to MSM, and at what age this had occurred. To decrease noise due to migration, only MSM who were Swiss nationals, living in Switzerland, and aged 16 or more (i.e. post mandatory age school) were kept for the analyses (N=1559). Respondents were classified into 10-year generations.
Results: Older generations of MSM received their first MSM-specific sex eductation mostly through mass media whereas younger generations were more likely to have first received information at school or college (figure). In all generations, a constant minority of MSM (19%) received it through gay NGOs; this proportion decreased only in the youngest generation.

Conclusions:  The context of first MSM-specific sex education has changed markedly across generations. The shift in first source of MSM-specific sex education probably indicates change in the content of sex-education programmes.

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