Non-clinical sexual health support for HIV, viral hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted infections in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men: Protocol for a European Community Health Worker Online Survey (ECHOES)

Nigel Sherriff, Jörg Huber, Nick McGlynn, Carrie Llewellyn, Alex Pollard, Nicolas Lorente, Cinta Folch, Caiohme Cawley, Oksana Panochenko, Michael Krone, Maria Dutarte, Jordi Casabona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: The term "community health worker" (CHW) can apply to a wide range of individuals providing health services and support for diverse populations. Very little is known about the role of CHWs in Europe working in nonclinical settings who promote sexual health and prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). Objective: This paper describes the development and piloting of the first European Community Health Worker Online Survey (ECHOES) as part of the broader European Union-funded ESTICOM (European Surveys and Trainings to Improve MSM Community Health) project. The questionnaire aimed to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of CHWs providing sexual health services to gay, bisexual, and other MSM in European settings. Methods: ECHOES comprises three superordinate domains divided into 10 subsections with 175 items (routed) based on a scoping exercise and literature review, online prepiloting, and Europe-wide consultation. Additional piloting and cognitive debriefing interviews with stakeholders were conducted to identify comprehension issues and improve the clarity, intelligibility, accessibility, and acceptability of the survey. Psychometric properties, including internal consistency of the standardized scales used as part of the survey were examined. The final survey was available to 33 countries in 16 languages. Results: Recruitment closed on January 31, 2018. Data from 1035 CHWs were available for analysis after application of the exclusion criteria. The findings of the ECHOES survey and the wider ESTICOM project, are now available from the ESTICOM website and/or by contacting the first author. Conclusions: The findings of this survey will help characterize, for the first time, the diverse role of CHWs who provide sexual health services to gay, bisexual, and other MSM in Europe. Importantly, the data will be used to inform the content and design of a dedicated training program for CHWs as part of the larger ESTICOM project and provide recommendations for MSM-specific strategies to improve sexual health in general and to reduce the incidence and prevalence of HIV, viral hepatitis, and other STIs in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15012
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

© Nigel Sherriff, Jorg Huber, Nick McGlynn, Carrie Llewellyn, Alex Pollard, Nicolas Lorente, Cinta Folch, Caoimhe Cawley,
Oksana Panochenko, Michael Krone, Maria Dutarte, Jordi Casabona. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols
(http://www.researchprotocols.org), 18.02.2020. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction
in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic
information, a link to the original publication on http://www.researchprotocols.org, as well as this copyright and license information
must be included.

Keywords

  • HIV
  • MSM
  • CHW
  • Public health
  • health promotion
  • Europe
  • Survey
  • ECHOES
  • Gay men
  • Community health worker
  • Hepatitis
  • Peer support
  • Sexual health
  • Sexually transmitted infections

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