Santa Fe 2011 Santa Fe, USA 2011
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Abstract #167  -  The European MSM Internet Survey (EMIS) 2010. A large network approach for harmonising European 2nd generation surveillance and for identifying unmet prevention needs among gay and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in 38 countries.
  Presenting Author:   Dr Ulrich Marcus - Robert Koch-Institute
  Additional Authors:  Mr. Michele Breveglieri, Mr. Percy Fernández-Dávila, Mrs. Laia Ferrer, Mrs. Cinta Folch, Mr. Ford Hickson, Mr. Harm  Hospers, Mr. Massimo Mirandola, Mr. David Reid, Mr. Peter  Weatherburn, Mr. Axel J Schmidt,  
Surveys of sexual behaviour and prevention needs among men who have sex with men (MSM) have mainly been conducted on local, regional, and national levels. Due to different sampling methods (particularly Internet-based vs. venue-based), and because of similar, but not identical questions, a harmonization of indicators across different countries remains difficult. In the last decade, however, MSM dating websites have been shown to be (cost-) effective and valid means for recruiting respondents on both a national and international level, and are thus increasingly used for surveying MSM in particular.
  Method / Issue:
The European MSM Internet Survey (EMIS) is a joint project of academic, governmental, and non-governmental partners from 38 countries in Europe (EU and neighbouring countries), and is co-funded by the European Union. Researchers who already had experience with Internet-based surveys for MSM and those who have only had experience with print questionnaires, in collaboration with activists from community-based NGOs, have jointly prepared a pan-European online questionnaire. From June through August 2010, this online questionnaire, available in 25 different languages, collected data from MSM across Europe on sexual happiness, HIV and STI testing and diagnoses, unmet prevention needs, intervention performance, sexual (risk) behaviour, HIV-related stigma and gay-related discrimination. Subjects were recruited predominantly online, mostly through gay social media and MSM dating sites, as well as through links and banners on more than 100 websites for MSM all over Europe.
  Results / Comments:
Between 2% and 12% of the estimated MSM population in each participating country completed the EMIS questionnaire, resulting in the largest survey ever conducted on gay and other men who have sex with men (>180,000 respondents). By using large networks of different players in HIV prevention and research we were able to combine expertise from governmental, academic, and non-governmental organisations. This proved to be effective for implementing a multi-language, cross-border questionnaire and for successfully recruiting gay and other MSM across Europe. By looking at EMIS data versus various national data sets we demonstrate that EMIS provides data that is more comparable than data based on national questionnaires and nationally different recruitment strategies, particularly for research on European MSM prevention needs and behavioural surveillance. Even for some epidemiological parameters (e.g. infection diagnosis incidence for HIV and STIs), national datasets under EMIS are better comparable than national surveillance data since EMIS provides denominator data which are unavailable for many countries. Using EMIS data, analyses can be conducted on several levels, including on individual, regional and country levels.
EMIS results will inform the planning of prevention interventions for MSM by identifying prevention needs commonly unmet across MSM (priority aims) and across particular subgroups of MSM who have the most unmet prevention needs (priority target groups).
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