Russian National LGBT Center
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Russian National GLBT Center "Together"

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Project description in-detail

The establishment of the "Healthy Gay Community" site, devoted to questions of safe sex for gays and men practicing sex with men (MWM).

The need to work with the gays and the MWM is due to the fact that at the present time there increases the role of the sexual transmission of the HIV infection. Men practicing sex with men are still a group of high behavioral risk in terms of contracting sexually transmitted infections and HIV infection, demonstrating a low level of information on this topic and practicing unprotected sexual contacts.

This project is made in cooperation with PSI. In the course of the year the PSI organization implemented a "Protect Yourself" pilot project aimed at preventing HIV/AIDS and STI among the gays and MWM. In the course of this project the main information needs of the group in question were identified and different forms of submission of information were practiced. At the present time within the framework of developing the project, it would be advisable to reach out and to cover the new target audience - the Internet users.

According to estimates by the "Public Opinion" Foundation, there are 8.8 million Internet users in Russia. Of this number, according to the Spylog data, over one million people visited in 2001 the site for the gays and the bisexuals - www.Gay.Ru. This is, among other things, due to the fact that the Internet provides an opportunity to get objective information about this area of sexual behavior, characterized by many stereotypes.

Not all MWM admit they are gay. Correspondingly, not all visit gay clubs and places of gay get-togethers where they can receive information about HIV/STI from outreach workers. That is why for a large part of the MWM visiting a gay site is a unique opportunity to get information about the safe sexual behavior.

The site www.Gay.ru is the first and most popular Russian gay site. The trust it enjoys among the Russian gays and bisexuals will help to draw the attention of the audience to the information about health which will be placed on satellite site "Healthy gay community."

The overwhelming majority of gay site visitors are looking in them for new acquaintances and sexual adventure, which confirms the need of establishing a popular resource on safe sex precisely in the Internet. For instance, one of the widespread forms of sexual relations between gays is anal intercourse. Because of the shortage of information about how to protect oneself or to lower the risk of infection for the Russian homosexuals, it remains one of the main ways of transmitting HIV and STI. As a result, according to Academician Pokrovsky, the dynamic of identifying the HIV incidence among the Russian gays continues to grow over the past five years.  

 

The aim of the project: 

to increase the level of information about the safe sexual behavior among gays and MWM.

Goals of the project:

  • drawing the gays' and MWM's attention to the problem of HIV/AIDS and STI by establishing a specialized site

  • providing psychological and information support in consulting the site visitors by correspondence

  • increasing the level of information of the target group by creating a base of services in testing rooms in the city of Moscow

  • conducting a study of the attitude of the visitors to the site toward safe sex.

   



Project activities:
 

1. Drawing the attention of gays and MWM to the problem of HIV/AIDS and STI through establishing a specialized site.

  • Developing the design and the contents of the site.

  • A regularly updated news strip on safe sex, based on materials of news agencies;

  • Information about the progress of the "Protect Yourself" project. Updated twice a month.

  • Annual surveys and voting, the use of the results in preparing the subsequent materials for the site.

  • The interactive questionnaire "Assess your risk." The visitor will be able to answer the questions of the questionnaire and obtain comments on the degree of danger/safety of his sexual behavior and recommendations on protection;

The expectations: The level of information of the MWM will grow in regard to questions of HIV/AIDS and STI.

 

2. Provision of psychological and medical support in consulting the site visitors by correspondence

  • Forming a team of specialists and conducting correspondence consulting on issues of safe sex

Expectations: MWM in Moscow and in regions will get a good quality psychological and medical support, and the level of information of the MWM will increase.

 

3. Increasing the information of the target group about places of testing for HIV/AIDS and STI by establishing a base in the form of testing services rooms in Moscow.

  • Developing the software and filling the base of addresses, telephones and the provisions of services by test rooms for STD/HIV in the city of Moscow , and the database will be regularly updated.

Expectations: The MWM will anonymously receive reliable and topical information about the testing for STD/HIV roomsin the city of Moscow.

 

4. Carrying out a study of the attitude of the site visitors to safe sex.

  • An experimental study of the sexual behavior of gays and bisexuals will be carried out on the site. In filling out the acquaintance questionnaires the visitors to the site shall indicate up to 200 parameters of their way of life, work, interests, sexual life and so on. 

In voting on particular questions concerning safe sex (for instance, "In which cases do you make use of condoms?"), the variant of answer chosen by the visitor will be correlated with the data that he introduced into his acquaintance questionnaire. 


In this way it will be possible to get unique statistics combining the way of life and the specificmanifestations of sexual behavior with the assessment of their safety. This will make it possible to understand the kind of information most needed by the visitors and the stereotypes and mistakes they are subjected.

Expectations: This will produce a portrait of the target group which includes not only the patterns of sexual behavior but also the interests and the type. The results of the research can be used for other projects as well as for further development of the project of the "Healthy Gay Community" site.

 

5. Involving the target group in participating in the project

  • During the year 4 competitions will be held (a competition of social posters, photographs, lively folksy songs and slogans) on the topic of the healthy way of life and safe sex;

  • Visitors to the site will be involved as volunteers and peer-educators in the "Protect yourself" project to participate in PSI activities.

Expectations: After holding the competitions, there will be a heightened interest in project project pursued which will contribute to attaining its goals. The most active part of the visitors will be able to take part in PSI activities and of the "I+I" center related or unrelated to the project.

 

 

A Further Development of the Project and Its Funding

After the completion of the project the plan is to regularly update the base on testing rooms. An archive will be established of "questions" and "answers" of the medico-psychological service, which will enable future site visitors to find information of interest to them. The site will be integrated into the www.Gay.ru portal, which will enable all those willing to get reliable information on safe sex.

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Copyright Russian National GLBT Center "Together", 2003.
Postal adress: p/o box 1, 109457, Moscow, Russia.