When working with gay men, bisexual men, and men who have sex with men around issues of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, it is important to remember that not all of these men are happy to be labeled, therefore some of the target population are invisible. Maybe you are one of those guys reading this now!
We also have to look at why men can behave the way that they do. So we have to look at the wider determinants that affect men's health, for instance equality, housing, work, family, mental health, homophobia, drug and alcohol use, and in doing so we encompass some of the needs of gay women and bisexual women in the process. One of the core problems being a lack of equality, until gay men and women are accepted within our society as equals and not as second class citizens it is always going to be harder for them to access services and to be truthful about their needs, and where they feel that they sit within our society.
One way of doing this is with changes in legislation, these have been happening slowly, the process needs to affect a culture change within our society.
Challenging stereotypes and dispelling myths, which are constantly re-enforced.
What does this role entail? Briefly
Advice and information about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.
Provision of condoms and lubricant and leaflets to promote safer sexual practice.
Outreach work at gay venues and public sex environments (cruising grounds).
Helping to build trust between the Police and the Gay community, via liaison and training, encouraging reporting of Hate Crimes.
Liaison with Social Services, GUM clinics, Victim support, borough councils, GP surgeries and other statutory organisations, in order to break down barriers both actual and perceived.
Liaison with HIV voluntary organisations to work together in order to reduce the incidence of HIV infection, by working closely with those already infected. Working with other voluntary organisations like Outline, Relate and THT.
1-2-1 work with gay and bisexual men, around sexual health and sexuality.
Facilitating a married men's group.
Raising awareness of a gay lifestyle to the wider population, in order to break down stereotypes and myths.
Raising awareness of same sex domestic abuse to the gay population as well as the wider population.
Production of a monthly newsletter "Haarden Fazt Herald" available from the Elm Tree in Guildford and a mailing list (contact Ian if you want to go on the mailing list).
If you would like to contact Ian on any of the above matters then please use one of the numbers listed below.
Health Promotion Development Worker Gay Men
West Surrey Health Promotion Service
01932 355533 Office number
07801 629972 Mobile
Both have confidential ansaphones