‘The lack of an effective HIV vaccine means prevention through behaviour change is the most important available strategy to reduce new infections’ argue Bonell and Imrie. Whilst most of us working in sexual health would agree, exactly how to achieve long lasting behavioural change is something that is widely debated. One approach that is gaining currency is one-to-one intervention. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recently recommended one-to-one structured discussions with individuals at high risk of STIs as they are an effective way to reduce STI infection. The paper said these ‘should be structured on the basis of behaviour change theories’, addressing ‘factors that can help reduce risk-taking, improve self-efficacy and motivation’ and ideally last about 15-20 minutes. NAM summarised research into the effectiveness of one-to-one HIV prevention interventions and found that over all interventions and risk groups there was an increase in safe sex/condom use of about 25%. Similarly, a report into US wide intervention approaches showed a reduction in unprotected anal sex of 26% amongst those taking part. Interestingly, NAM’s research summary also showed that approaches that used ‘scare tactics’ and the threat of AIDS actually had negative effects on the behaviour of HIV negative groups. All in all, it seems one-to-one interventions are valuable as they can successfully bring about behavioural change so long as they don’t try to do this through scaring people into using protection.
GMI Health Trainer Outreach
This is recognised by our GMI Partnership health trainers who talk to men about issues related to sexual health and HIV prevention. Our approach avoids scare mongering and aims to enable MSM (men who have sex with men) to make informed decisions about their sexual health. You will find us working in venues across London including bars, clubs, saunas, clinics and at special events such as Black Pride or World Aids Day. The role of the Health Trainer is to work with men to help them decide how they manage their sexual health, helping them to have the kind of sex they want to have. Men might talk to health trainers for the following reasons:
• Being worried about the risks they are taking in sex
• Wanting to know about getting an HIV test – when they should take a test, where they can get tested, and why they might want to test
• Being unsure about what is high and low risk behaviour in terms of HIV
• Wanting to know what sexual health services are available for MSM in London
• Wondering if they might benefit from having another MSM as a mentor to help them work through ways that they can stay HIV negative
• Considering counselling to talk about issues around the risk they take with sex
• Wanting more information about STIs and safer sex practices
GMI health trainers at World Aids Day, 2012
Where are the health trainers going to be?
Our health trainers work across London at different locations on different days of the week. Please see the following link for the latest schedule for our health trainers:
How can I find out more information about Health Training?
Feel free to give us a call or send us an e-mail using the details below:
Telephone: 020 7791 9318
GMI provide free sexual health services for MSM in London including counselling, mentoring and sexual health advice. If you would like more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .