Some 20 men living in Dominica have so far participated in an ongoing study about men who have sex with men (MSM).
The study, the first of its kind in the Caribbean, is being done by the Caribbean Men’s Internet Survey (CARIMIS).
The agency describes it as a first attempt to gather information through the internet about the lives of MSM in the region, including those who do not self-identify as gay or bisexual.
In a release on Wednesday CARIMIS said through this anonymous exercise, respondents can safely share information about their sexual behaviour as well as insight into their relative degrees of access to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care services.
CARIMIS said the study targets men who are 18 years or older, live in the Caribbean, were born male and either are attracted to men, have sex with men or think they might do so in the future. Male-to-female transgendered persons are included.
The release said 20 men from Dominica have joined some 2,400 men across the Caribbean who have participated in the study.
Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Caribbean Regional Support Team, Dr. Ernest Massiah, explained that the exercise would help countries in the region respond more meaningfully to the healthcare and social needs of this heterogeneous group.
“Being online gives us access to people we haven’t been able to reach through traditional study methods. It also helps people to respond more honestly to questions about their sexual practices and HIV status so that we get a clearer picture of what’s going on in each country”.
“Better data is going to lead to better policies and programmes,” Massiah said. “In the long run it will improve the quality of life for participants and those who share their experiences.”
Source – Dominica News OnLine