Who is the intervention for?
The MSM HIV prevention sector includes anyone who delivers, funds or supports the development of interventions aimed at reducing HIV exposure and transmission involving gay men and other men that have sex with men (MSM) in England.
Organisations staff and volunteers
All staff and volunteers in statutory and voluntary sector organisations that provide services to MSM in England should have the opportunity to attend training events and courses, seminars, conferences and workshops that equip them with relevant knowledge and skills about HIV prevention among this population, technical skills, and information about the work of other service providers.
The development needs of board members, directors and managers, front-line staff and volunteers will not all be the same, but all will have some. There should also be effective communication and feedback systems in place so that information is shared with the rest of the team where only some individuals can be supported to attend such events.
All gay men, bisexual men and other MSM that are the targets of direct contact interventions can also be the target of structural interventions, This is especially true of community development interventions which develop and support active and sustainable networks of people, based on social justice and mutual respect. Since community development includes enabling and empowering people to directly inﬂuence the things that affect their lives, then MSM themselves are usually the intended audience for such interventions.
It is also best practice to involve MSM in the planning, development and testing of direct contact interventions before they are formally released. It is widely assumed that this formal engagement of MSM in the development of interventions and programmes increases their acceptability and utility to users.
Partnership-working on a carefully selected policy agenda can prove to be particularly powerful, as evidence can be collated across agencies, and innovative approaches to exercising inﬂuence can be strategically applied by different actors, with a diverse range of targets.
Targets might include, but are not limited to: Public Health England, the Department of Health and various other government departments; Police authorities and HM Prison Service; local government and local health commissioning consortia; leaders of faith-based organisations and gay businessess; Housing Associations.
Those who commission HIV prevention interventions targeting MSM require up-to-date information about prevention need and other issues affecting service users and providers to enhance their commissioning decisions. Commissioners should ensure an enabling environment for organisations to develop and to deliver programmes, through mutual communications and interactions. This requires an open and trusting relationship between commissioners and providers, grounded in shared values that prioritise evidence, ethical approaches and collective problem-solving.
The current UK coalition government plans to dramatically reshape the future work of the NHS, including the way in which Public Health services will be provided, via a new Health and Scoial Care Bill. The proposed changes will lead to Primary Care Trusts ceasing to exist in April 2013, with formal transfers of public health powers to Local Authorities. Beyond this date, many of the key relationships central to the commissioning and provision of local HIV prevention services, will need to be re-established if a wide-ranging reduction in HIV prevention services is to be avoided.
Researchers and their funders
Researchers require ongoing information about emerging service delivery and community-related issues, in order to ensure that their approaches are relevant and acceptable. This is not only achieved through formal processes, it also requires ongoing dialogue between community organisations and researchers. Increased understanding and appreciation for the daily pressures, priorities and working practices of those on each side of this relationship contributes to the development of a robust research agenda, and helps to increase the likelihood that research outputs will be useful to those whose needs they are designed to meet.
Page last updated: 5 July 2013