What is the research study about?

You are invited to participate in an online survey of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. The survey monitors trends in sexual behaviour, relationships, the use of different HIV prevention strategies, drug use and testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The results are used to guide HIV and sexual health programs for gay and bisexual men.

Who is conducting this research?

The study is being carried out by researchers from the Centre for Social Research in Health and the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales. The research is supported by reference groups in each state and territory where the survey is conducted. The reference groups include representatives from gay community and HIV organisations and health departments.

Research Funder: This research is funded by state and territory health departments and the Australian Government Department of Health.

Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria

Participation is open to men (cisgender or transgender) who are at least 16 years of age and identify as gay or bisexual or have had sex with another man in the past five years. Only men who are resident in the state or territory where we are conducting online recruitment should participate. You should only complete the survey once each year. Women and children and temporary visitors to Australia are not eligible to take part.

Do I have to take part in this research study?

Participation in this research study is voluntary. If after reading this information you decide you want to take part in the study, you should click the link to start the online survey. If you do not want to take part, you do not have to. If you decide to take part and later change your mind, you are free to withdraw from the study (by closing your browser window).

What does participation in this research require, and are there any risks involved?

The questionnaire takes 10-15 minutes to complete. Complete it by yourself. The survey can be completed anonymously. Answer all the questions that are relevant to you. You can skip over optional questions you do not wish to answer.

The main risks associated with the research are discomfort in answering personal and explicit questions about sex, relationships, drug use or HIV, and the inconvenience of completing the questionnaire. It is possible that you may experience distress because of the questionnaire topics. If you experience discomfort or distress, you may stop and withdraw at any time. We have provided links to advice and support services below and on the survey website.

What are the possible benefits to participation?

There are no direct benefits for participants (such as remuneration). The study findings may have indirect benefits by improving HIV and sexual health services for gay and bisexual men.

What will happen to information about me?

Your survey responses are stored in a secure database at the university, only accessible to the research team or qualified researchers who submit a request to analyse the data to the research team. No identifying information about you is stored in the survey database, so you cannot be identified.

Because the surveys track trends over time, the older survey data is maintained in the database for analysis. In future, the older survey data may be made available in a deidentified form in a publicly accessible data archive, accessible to qualified researchers.

How and when will I find out what the results of the research study are?

Results for each survey round are published in reports on the Centre for Social Research in Health’s website, the survey website, Facebook page and by our partner organisations. National trend data are reported each year in the Annual Report of Trends in Behaviour. Results are presented in peer-reviewed journal articles and at national and international conferences. Feedback sessions are held by local gay community and HIV organisations. We may also report the survey findings in local community media or the national media.

What if I want to withdraw from the research study?

Your decision whether or not to participate will not prejudice your future relations with the University of New South Wales or any other organisation involved in this survey. If you decide you do not wish to participate while you are completing the questionnaire, please exit the survey and close your browser window. Because the questionnaire is anonymous, we will not be able to remove your answers later because we will not be able to identify you or your responses.

What should I do if I have further questions about my involvement in the research study?

The person you may need to contact will depend on the nature of your query. If you have an immediate question about participation while we are recruiting, you may contact the research team through our Facebook page. If you require further information regarding the study or would like to provide feedback on it, you can contact the study’s chief investigator:

Professor Martin Holt, Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW Sydney, 02 9385 6410, m.holt@unsw.edu.au

What if I have a complaint or any concerns about the research study?

If you have a complaint regarding any aspect of the study or the way it is being conducted, please contact the UNSW Human Research Ethics Coordinator:

Complaints Contact

Position UNSW Human Research Ethics Coordinator
Telephone 02 9385 6222
Email humanethics@unsw.edu.au
HC Reference Number HC180903

Advice and support

If you would like to find out more about sexuality, HIV, sexual health, drug use or relationships, please see the Get Support section of this website.