Melbourne Gay Community Periodic Survey back for 2018 at Midsumma Carnival
12 Jan 2018
The Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) along with the Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH) and the Kirby Institute at UNSW will be conducting the Melbourne Gay Community Periodic Survey (MGCPS) during the first week of the Midsumma Festival, this annual survey takes a snapshot of sexual practices men who have sex with other men in relation to the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
From Sunday 14 January at the 2018 Midsumma Carnival Day through Sunday 21 January, gay and bisexual men who have sex with men (MSM) will be asked to participate in the survey at a range of locations across Melbourne, including medical clinics, social venues such as pubs and bars, and sex-on-premises venues. Only Melbourne men who have had sex with another man in the past five years should complete a survey form, as well as men who don’t live in Melbourne but who regularly participate in the Melbourne gay community. The survey is completely anonymous, and the results are communicated later in the year via LGBTI and other media, through public meetings and seminars, in online reports, and through journal articles.
First conducted in Melbourne in 1998, the short survey takes a snapshot of gay men’s sexual practices related to the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. The survey is important because it gives a snapshot of the lives of gay and homosexually active men in Melbourne from year to year. It allows comparisons to be made over time and for a picture to emerge of the changes in sexual practices and partnering habits, drug use, HIV and STI rates, and testing habits.
The Periodic Survey is also conducted in other states during gay community festivals so that comparisons can be drawn between states. Data from the surveys are used to form local and national sexual health promotion campaigns and education strategies.
“All same-sex attracted guys are welcome to complete this annual survey — gay, bi, trans and non-binary both HIV negative and HIV Positive,” said the survey’s Victorian coordinator, VAC’s Tex McKenzie.
“New questions added this year include adding the gender assigned at birth and a question asking if participants have been vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B. And not all questions need to be answered by everyone; there are specific questions for men who are living with HIV as well as general questions that everyone can answer.”
VAC CEO Simon Ruth added: “The Periodic Survey is an important piece of research that helps us target not only campaigns around HIV and STI-prevention, but around mental health issues and alcohol and drug use in our community as well.”
“The data we gather from the survey over time is an invaluable resource for both state-based and national campaigns.”