Sialon: behavioural survey questionnaire development and survey procedures piloting among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Veneto, Italy
Background: Sexually transmitted infections (HIV/STIs) have been increasing among MSM over the last few years. The aim of this study was to pilot a preliminary questionnaire and survey procedures on a MSM population.
Method: The study design was cross-sectional. Subjects’ enrolment was carried out in Verona and Padua on the basis of a convenience sampling. A preliminary mapping of gay friendly places was carried out to identify recruitment areas.
An anonymous questionnaire was developed using qualitative methods to gather information on sexual practices, beliefs, socio-ecological factors, VCT access and STIs history.
Results: The sample was composed of 313 sexually active MSM. The average age of the respondents was 28.7 (SD 6.6); 67.6% identified themselves as homosexuals and 25.2% as bisexuals. 18.2% and 79.2% of the population reported feeling excluded in their working place and religious organization respectively.
61.9% of the survey sample had undergone HIV testing at least once in their lifetime whereas 21% of respondents had never been tested. 64,% of the participants had practised oral sex with ejaculation in the oral cavity over the previous 3 months whereas 35% of them had practised unprotected anal sex within the same period (25% of them with ejaculation in the rectum). Fist-Fucking had been practised by 15% of the population and 10% of the respondents had had sex with male sex workers.
Discussion: The survey tool and procedures proved to be adequate for MSM. Further investigation is needed in order to assure that procedures, sexual practices and socio-ecological factors are relevant for the social context of South-Eastern European countries participating in the European Project.
SIALON project received funding from the European Commission-PHP 2003-2008. However, the sole responsibility for the project lies with the author and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
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