On July 28, 2017 NGO “Baltic HIV Association” signed an agreement with The Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (hereinafter – CDPC) of Latvia on the implementation of a new study “Study on the use of addictive substances and the prevalence of associated infections in the population of men who have sex with men” until 11 December, 2017.
The aim of the study is to find out the prevalence of various narcotic and psychotropic substances and associated infectious diseases within the MSM in 2017.
The method used in this survey will be the respondent-led selection method which is currently one of the most recognized selection methodologies in the hard-to-reach community groups, as it gives an option to get deeply into the population and provides the most representative part of the target group. In Latvia such an approach in order to the study a specific target group has never been used before.
In addition to the interviews with MSM, it is planned to make an anonymous testing on HIV, syphilis, viral hepatitis B and C with an approval of the person. The primary testing on HIV, viral hepatitis B and C, and syphilis will be done using rapid tests, while providing both pre- and post-test consultations.
The study is very important due to the fact that there has not been implemented any systematic epidemiological monitoring of MSM recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Latvia which is essential for creating, updating and promoting targeted and specific prevention measures.