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Removing barriers on men’s sexual health

Researcher

Naomi Pierce, STEAM PhD student and Psychology researcher

Aims of research

The research aims to understand and remove the barriers stopping men from finding out more information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The research, conducted by STEAM scholar Naomi Pierce, will focus on men who have sex with other men and will explore the social issues deterring them from seeking guidance.

Methods of research

The STI rates of men enjoying same-sex relations is on the rise, particularly in diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhoea. With this in mind, Naomi will begin by speaking to local healthcare organisations to discuss her research and why they feel information isn’t being sourced.

As well as social issues, such as peer behaviour and friendship groups, Naomi will also look into the cognitive barriers, including the thinking patterns surrounding STIs. Focus groups will also be conducted, to try and identify why seeking information about STIs might be difficult, while anonymous questionnaires will ask participants general questions regarding sexual health.

Applications

The research hopes to better identify how different social groups may have different risk profiles when it comes to STIs. It is also hoped that the research will identify and eradicate the social and cognitive barriers preventing men from asking for information.

Results

The number of reported STI cases, currently on the rise, will lessen, with men participating in same-sex intercourse accessing the information they need to combat infection. It will also raise awareness of other STIs, such as chlamydia, helping men understand there are more infections to consider other than HIV and AIDS. The research will also help men negotiate the mental and emotional barriers surrounding STIs, enabling them to seek out help and information.