Issues like friendship and feeling connected, your sexual health, drug use, and mental health affect all of us in the gay community, and beyond. We want to explore what you, and your friends, think about these issues, and how they affect people’s decisions – your decisions – over time. We will also investigate why some men enjoy taking certain drugs, why some men don’t take drugs, and how those choices affect other parts of their lives, both good and bad.
To do this right, we need all sorts of gay and bisexual men to participate. If you have never taken drugs or take drugs all the time; if you feel connected to gay community life, or have nothing to do with it; if you have close gay friendship networks or have no gay friends. We need to hear from EVERYONE to make the Flux study a success, so we can ensure that community organisations and services can respond to everyone’s needs.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO?
Once every six months, we’ll send you a link to a questionnaire. This won’t be just another, all-too brief (and often pointless), 5-minute questionnaire. It will be thorough, and get right to the point. One of our goals is to NOT waste your time with questionnaires that achieve little. We need to ask about these issues in some detail to make sure this research can be useful and actually help our communities, so it may take 25-40 minutes of your time. Click here for more information. For a copy of the study protocol, click here
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
To be eligible to participate in this study, you must:
Be male, currently living in Australia;
Be 16 years and 6 months of age or older;
Have had sex with another man in the preceding 12 months OR identify as homosexual or bisexual; and
Willing to consent to the study requirements (listed below)
We are interested in enrolling a broad cross section of gay and other men who have sex with men, and all men who meet the criteria above are of interest to us. We are interested in hearing from you whether you have taken drugs before or not, or you are part of the gay community or not.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
If you choose to participate, the study has a number of elements. The main (and essential) part of the study is a semi-annual online survey. Every 6 months, you will need to complete the survey, which will take up to 25-40 minutes. The interview includes sections on general demographics, your sexuality, pleasure, sexual behaviour, attachment to the gay community, drug use, sexual health, mental health and knowledge and attitudes towards HIV.
In addition to the six-monthly interview, we plan to study some other issues of relevance to gay men’s health within the study. To look at these questions, we need your consent for the items listed below. These items do not require any extra participation on your behalf, beyond giving your consent to allow us to collect information from other sources. You will not be excluded from participation if you would prefer not to participate in this part of the study:
Link your details with Commonwealth and State agency health and disease-related registries. Such registries include registries of HIV, cancer and death. This information will allow the calculation of rates of important causes of death and illness in gay men, and would be of benefit in identifying causes of these conditions.
Link data with other state and national registries (Including Registries of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, The National Death Index, the Hospitalisation datasets (both admitted patients and emergency). We will access these for information about hospitalisations, date and cause of death in the unlikely event that it should occur during the time you are enrolled in Flux.
Link your details with the NDD-HVC (Notifiable Diseases Database – Hepatitis C virus). We will access these for information about hepatitis C infection, occurrence and dates of infection. This information will allow the calculation of incidence of hepatitis C in gay and bisexual men and how this might relate to other health and behavioural factors that may be of benefit in identifying causes of these conditions.
Participants may also be selected for an additional face-to-face interview. This interview will be conducted confidentially, and no identifying details from the interview will be used in results or reporting of this study. This interview will be conducted by a trained interviewer, recorded for accuracy, and then transcribed for analysis. All recordings will be destroyed upon transcription. This interview should take 60 minutes on average, but it is NOT required for participation in the Flux study as a whole.