One of the key ECOM objectives is promoting access to strategic information on the health and wellbeing of gay men, other MSM and trans people in EECA region. That is why ECOM is actively engaged in all meetings and other activities, which help to improve the quality of services for the members of LGBT community in the region. One of such activities was the 10th European MSM Networking Meeting.

The meeting was organized by Deutsche AIDS Hilfe (DAH) and was dedicated to the results of the European study EMIS-2017 (the first study of such scale was conducted in 2010). It should be noted that many ECOM members were involved in collecting data for this study, and in the nearest future ECOM will prepare a summary report on EMIS-2017 results for a number of EECA countries.

The main goal of the meeting was to strengthen the linkages among different European organizations working in the area of sexual health of gay men and other MSM. In the beginning of the meeting, the participants made sure they are “on the same page” and discussed what topics are top priority in terms of sexual health of gay man and other MSM in Europe. The common priorities named were PrEP, self-testing, U=U (Undetectable equals Untransmittable campaign), chemsex, stigma from the side of medical workers and expanding the focus of activities from HIV and STIs to all the aspects of sexual health.

The next part of the meeting was discussing the practical use of the data collected within the study for the participants. Considering that there was a lot of data received and there are thousands of potential options for data analysis, the EMIS team suggested to the participants to choose the most important ones. Some people expect that the data will allow comparing the contexts in different countries, in big cities and small towns or analyzing the migration trends (gay tourism, labor migration, refugees), while others want to understand the motives and trends in building stable, in particular “open”, relationships… All the suggestions voiced were passed to the analytics team.

The second and third days of the meeting included presentation and discussion of the first processed data. There was an unhurried conversation, when every number was discussed and all the participants could ask their questions.

Slides with the first processed results may be found here:

  1. Presentation delivered at AIDS2018: http://sigmaresearch.org.uk/files/AIDS2018_EMIS2017_Schmidt+Weatherburn_MOSA4704.pdf
  2. First volume of the community report prepared by the study team: https://www.iwwit.de/sites/default/files/EMIS2017_CR01_english_ENDb.pdf

Gradually, several more community reports will be issued, and in early 2019 the full summary report is expected to be published as well as country reports and the regional report prepared with ECOM support.