The WA AIDS Council is once again charged with conducting a survey of gay men in Perth. The study researches the HIV-related sexual and social behaviour of men attached to the Perth gay community to identify and understand changes in sexual behaviour and inform health promotion initiatives aimed at this target community. The research is collated and analysed by the University of New South Wales Centre for Social Research in Health, and the Kirby Institute.
The study is essentially a repeat of the biennial surveys that have previously been conducted in Western Australia. This year it will be administered to coincide with Fairday on Sunday 29 October and we will undertake surveys during the two weeks following.
The survey focuses on sexual behaviour, nature of sexual relationships, HIV testing practices and sero-status, aspects of social attachment to the gay community, and of course a number of demographic items. It is self-administered and confidential, and takes up to ten minutes to complete.
In 2016, a total of 900 questionnaires were collected from individuals at gay-themed venues and events. This is a great result and one which we are wanting to duplicate and improve on in 2017. In order to achieve this we are looking at targeting Gay community events as well as extending our reach down to Bunbury to align with the South West Pride event.
The results of the Perth Gay Community Periodic survey directly inform the development of effective health promotion and community development strategies in Western Australia and will enable the WA AIDS Council to respond to important changes in sexual negotiation and behaviour, and the meanings of HIV in the gay community. The study will also make an important contribution to the collection and comparison of equivalent data throughout Australia as part of a national data collection strategy.