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Breaking news: Infographics for ECHOES available.

To share the findings of the European Community Health Worker Survey, ECHOES
created two infographics. You can find them here.
Please feel free to share them with fellow Community Health Workers.

Training Programme for Community Health Workers now online: eLearning Modules

To support Community Health Workers' training needs in their work with MSM, free eLearning Modules from the Training Programme are now available at msm-trainings.org. The self-paced materials cover a plethora of topic ranging from HIV, STI, safer sex, prevention, anti-stigma, chemsex, health promotion, to retention in care issues, etc.

World AIDS Day 2019

For World AIDS Day 2019, we partnered again with UNAIDS to present more key indicators from EMIS 2017 and LAMIS. The Key Populations Atlas displays findings from both surveys on an interactive world map and also links to country profiles. Further information

ECHOES Report

ECHOES is the first ever survey among Community Health Workers (CHWs) across Europe. Its main objective was to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of CHWs providing sexual health services to gay, bisexual and other MSM in Europe. ECHOES was available in 16 languages and went online in October 2017 for a period of four months. The ECHOES report presents findings from 1 035 participating CHWs.

CHWs recruited in ECHOES reported activities in each step of the HIV, hepatitis, and STI service continuum: primary prevention, testing and screening, linkage to care, and treatment support. Cross-cutting activities such as developing interventions and outreach activities or advocacy are also part of their ‘job profile’.

Structural and social issues were the biggest barriers faced by ECHOES respondents to perform CHW activities, especially: shortage of funding or resources at organisational level (62% of respondents), lack of funding for CHW organisation (65%), stigma around HIV or AIDS (77%) and stigma around homo-/bisexuality (59%). Overall, 10% of ECHOES respondents have not received any training for their current role of CHW; these CHWs represent a core audience for current and future training programmes.

The full report is available here: European Community Health Worker Online Survey Report (PDF, 4MB, File does not meet accessibility standards.) .

Further details on ECHOES are available here.

EMIS-2017 Report

This report presents a comprehensive analysis of the results of a 2017 survey among men who have sex with men (MSM). Based on the responses of some 128 000 participants in Europe, it provides insights on their knowledge of HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections (STI), sexual behaviour, prevention needs and testing habits.

Executive Summary

Sex between men remains the predominant mode of HIV transmission in the EU/EEA countries, where the first signs of a decline in reported new cases resulted from a 20% drop in new diagnoses among MSM (2015-2017).

The European Men-Who-Have-Sex-With-Men Internet Survey (EMIS-2017) collected comparable data in 33 languages to understand changes over time in the behaviour, needs and interventions affecting HIV incidence among MSM also in comparison with results from the EMIS survey in 2010. Almost 128 000 men who have sex with men from 48 countries in Europe responded to the online survey in 2017. The results show considerable differences across the countries reflecting Europe’s diversity with respect to sexual health and behaviour of MSM.

The results thus provide knowledge based on large-scale, comparable data from across Europe to help understand the impact of available prevention and treatment programmes, including the influence of emerging and changing behavioural trends and how these factors influence risk behaviour among MSM. The report describes both MSM behaviour and needs, alongside resulting morbidities, and the likely value of current services to address these.

The response from 127 792 men who have sex with men to a survey that focused on knowledge about HIV and sexually transmitted infections, sexual behaviour, access to care, HIV-related stigma and the use of services for HIV and sexual health is a strong indication that this group cares about HIV and sexual health issues. For example, every second (56%) respondent had received an HIV test result in the last 12 months and almost half (46%) had tested for other STI during the same period. At the same time, the survey responses helped identifying a variety of needs in this group, as e.g. 41% of the respondents did not know that vaccination against hepatitis A and B is recommended for MSM.

Based on the survey results, the report also summarises recommendations on how to address identified needs and gaps. For example, the authors conclude that national prevention programmes should continue to provide and promote comprehensive STI testing, tailored to the sexual repertoire of MSM. Reducing the stigma associated with (homo) sexual practices, comprehensive testing policies and affordable costs are essential to adequate STI screening.

The survey findings aim to inform HIV and STI prevention and care programmes and the comparable data allow monitoring of national progress in this area.

EMIS-2017 was executed by Sigma Research (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) as part of European Surveys and Training to Improve MSM Community Health (ESTICOM). ESTICOM was a three-year project (2016-2019) funded by the European Commission Health Programme 2014-2020 through a tender by the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (Chafea). The tender requested evidence about the sexual health of gay men, bisexual men and other men who have sex with men across Europe.

Download the full report: EMIS 2017 The European Men-Who-Have-Sex-With-Men Internet Survey: Key findings from 50 countries (PDF, 7MB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)

ESTICOM Dissemination Meeting

On June 19, 2019 the ESTICOM Dissemination Workshop was hosted by Chafea in Luxembourg. EMIS 2017, ECHOES and the Training Programme showcased key findings and discussed with the audience plans to maximise the utility of key learnings and best ways to sustain those benefits over time.
Programme: Programme ESTICOM Dissemination Meeting (PDF, 92KB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)
Presentations: Presentations ESTICOM Dissemination Meeting (PDF, 20MB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)
Please contact ESTICOM@rki.de for further details.

National Reports

Our colleagues Kristi Rüütel and Liilia Lõhmus just published the EMIS 2017 National Report Estonia: Üleeuroopalise meestega seksivate meeste uuringu Eesti andmete kokkuvõte 2017, EMIS-2017 – European MSM Internet Survey. (PDF, 2MB, File does not meet accessibility standards.) Watch this space for further national reports in local languages.

Community Reports

The first "Community Report" for EMIS respondents and MSM in general had been launched at the AIDS2018 conference in Amsterdam and is now available in 31 languages. We thank our network partners for their generous contributions and translations, in particular also the German NGO Deutsche Aidshilfe for publishing and hosting the Community Reports.

First results of the three ESTICOM projects (EMIS-2017, ECHOES, Training Programme) have be presented at a special ESTICOM Satellite Symposium on Monday, July 23rd from 17:00-19:00 at the Auditorium at AIDS 2018 conference in Amsterdam. These presentations are available here (EMIS, ECHOES, Training Programme).

About the European Surveys and Trainings to Improve MSM Community Health project

As part of the European Commission Health Programme 2014-2020, a pan-European project entitled ESTICOM (European Surveys and Training to Improve MSM Community Health) has been funded by the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA) of the European Commission. The project is running between September 2016 and August 2019, and comprises three elements:

  1. A European online survey among MSM (European MSM Internet Survey - EMIS 2017) which aims to generate data useful for the planning of HIV and STI prevention and care programmes for MSM, and to monitor national progress in this area by comparing its results with those of previous surveys, such as EMIS 2010.
  2. An online survey about knowledge, attitudes, practices, and training needs of community health workers (CHW) who provide counselling, testing, and psychosocial care and support services for MSM in the EU and neighbouring countries (the European Community Health Worker Online Survey - ECHOES). This is a survey that, in this form, has never been conducted before.
  3. Development and pilot testing of a training programme for MSM-focused community health workers, intended to be adaptable for all EU countries. The training programme will contribute to improving the quality of prevention, counselling and early diagnosis services HIV, STIs and viral hepatitis among MSM.

The EMIS and ECHOES surveys are now closed - we would like to sincerely thank all those who took part! Final reports on the results of the surveys will be released in 2019.

The ESTICOM Project is being delivered by a consortium involving 9 European organisations, led by the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, Germany. The consortium is supported by a board of advisors and a network of associated partner organisations.

To receive updates about the ESTICOM project, sign-up to the mailing list here.