Contribution of Community Health Workers in the improvement of sexual health in men who have sex with men in Europe: results from a cross-sectional study (ECHOES)

Nicolas Lorente, Nigel Sherriff, Oksana Panochenko, Marcus Ulrich, Maria Dutarte, Matthias Kuske, Susanna Aussò, Jörg Huber, Michael Krone, Susanne Barbara Schink, Caoimhe Cawley, Jordi Casabona, Cinta Folch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Little is known about Community Health Workers (CHWs) who work in non-clinical settings to provide sexual health support around HIV, viral hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to men who have sex with men (MSM) in Europe and neighbouring countries. This article describes for the first time, who CHWs are, and how they contribute to the continuum of services for HIV, viral hepatitis, and other STIs amongst MSM. The first European Community Health Worker Online Survey (ECHOES) developed in the framework of the EU-funded ESTICOM project (www.esticom.eu), was available in 16 languages (October 2017-January 2018). Amongst the 1035 persons aged 18 and older reporting CHW activities in the previous 12 months, 28.2% were women, 30.7% were volunteers, 59.2% were men self-defining as gay/homosexual, bisexual or queer (‘peer CHWs’), and most CHWs worked/volunteered in private not-for-profit organisations (86.4%). CHWs involvement in the continuum of services for HIV, viral hepatitis and other STIs was as follows: primary prevention (88.6%), consultation and counselling (58.0%), testing provision (50.6%), linkage to care (49.8%), and treatment and support activities (51.3%). CHWs were also involved in cross-cutting activities such as developing interventions, advocacy, and engaging in research (46.3%). CHWs as a public health workforce contribute to all steps of the continuum of services for HIV, viral hepatitis, and other STIs amongst MSM in Europe. National governments should recognise and support CHWs better in order to make their activities more visible and sustainable, and increase their impact on the continuum of services.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Community Health
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Journal of Community Health. The final authenticated version is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10900-020-00900-1

Keywords

  • Community Health Workers
  • MSM
  • HIV
  • viral hepatitis
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • sexual health
  • public health
  • health promotion
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Sexual health

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  • Cite this

    Lorente, N., Sherriff, N., Panochenko, O., Ulrich, M., Dutarte, M., Kuske, M., Aussò, S., Huber, J., Krone, M., Barbara Schink, S., Cawley, C., Casabona, J., & Folch, C. (2020). Contribution of Community Health Workers in the improvement of sexual health in men who have sex with men in Europe: results from a cross-sectional study (ECHOES). Journal of Community Health. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-020-00900-1