Sexual risk reduction among MSM in Toulouse (France): a model of co-research and intervention based on a NGO-university partnership
Issues: This co-research and intervention program based on a partnership between Aides Haute-Garonne (the local branch of the NGO Aides) and Toulouse-Le Mirail University (Certop-Sagesse) is focused on sexual risk reduction in MSM. It includes a classical research approach as well as several forms of intervention. The primary objectives of the project were to set up a long-term partnership, demonstrate its efficiency and complete the research program.
Description: Partnership: starting in spring 2004, it was officially signed in 2005. Financial support came from two sponsors: a two-years post-graduate grant awarded by the NGO Sidaction to the sociologist involved; additional costs covered by a local Health administration service (DDASS 31). Research: The project aimed to examine how MSM evaluate HIV transmission risk associated with various sexual practices (questionnaire survey). Referring to a prevention campaign elaborated by Aides and based on eight information flyers used as a research tool, it also explored the meanings, representations and experiences associated with these 8 messages of “sexual risk reduction” in a sample of 40 men (successive interviews). Interventions: data collection was planned during scheduled prevention interventions. Then, the interviews sample was expanded to focus groups on risk reduction, conferences and debates on HIV, a support group for HIV-positive gay men, a writing workshop, and a documentary.
Lessons learned: Goals: A convergence between partners is mandatory in order to implement the project. Research: The methodology is fully accessible to the NGO membres involved in the project, but it takes time to learn and practice research methods, including full participation in data analysis. The researcher also learns to work within the remit of NGOs. Intervention: the research creates a dynamics which stimulates new forms of intervention such writing workshops or video creation.
Next steps: Extend the interventions and publicize the model of partnership in order to implement it for new projects.
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