AN integral behavioural and biological surveillance study that was commissioned by the Males Empowerment Network (MENFiji) has been conducted to assess the current level of knowledge and understanding among men who have sex with men (MSM).
The study also aims to identify the sexual practices and behaviour pertaining to sexually transmitted illnesses and HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgenders in Fiji.
According to an abstract of the study, which is yet to be launched, the findings will contribute to the design of interventions including strengthening the provisions of user-friendly health care services ultimately addressing gaps in the national HIV response.
MENFiji’s Sepesa Raisili revealed that a total of 464 respondents took part in the survey — 213 ( 45.9 per cent) were from Suva and 251 (54.1 per cent) were from Lautoka.
The participants were selected using respondent driven sampling (RDS) in which respondents were recruited by their peers.
Raisili said findings of the survey indicated an urgent need for an increased effort to prevention in addition to the strengthening of health care services provisions.
Researchers on the survey also revealed that the study identified a low level of condom use and accessing of health care services.
The study suggested more involvement of members of target population in surveys and discussion of its findings was vital to ownership of programs and change in behaviour.