Background HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and chemsex present both opportunities and challenges for sexual health improvement among gay and bisexual men (GBM). However, there is scant evidence to inform responses in New Zealand (NZ), notably prevalence, uptake and cessation of behaviours over time. We sought a better understanding by recruiting a diverse national cohort of GBM.
Methods Flux NZ is a national online prospective observational study investigating wellbeing among GBM in NZ. The protocol, questionnaire and data management system were based on a concurrent Australian study. Recruitment was predominantly via social media and community partners. Eligible participants were GBM living in NZ. We present baseline descriptions of PrEP, STI and illicit drug-related data among the cohort to date.
Results The 315 participants are broadly reflective of the target population (10.8% identified as indigenous Maori, 59% lived outside Auckland the largest city, mean age 33.6 years (SD 15.6), 8.3% diagnosed HIV-positive). Among HIV-negative participants, 50% had heard “a lot” and 44% “a little” about PrEP; 18.2% were currently using PrEP. 57% of all participants had tested for STIs in the past 6 months; 7%, 5.7% and 3.2% were diagnosed with gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis respectively. Drug use in the past 6 months was 37.5% cannabis, 35.6% amyl, 17.5% MDMA, 5.1% methamphetamine, 4.8% LSD, 4.4% cocaine, 3.2% GHB, 2.5% amphetamine, 1.0% ketamine, 0.3% synthetic cannabis, 0% mephedrone, 0% heroin, and 1.9% other hallucinogens/psychedelics. “Any” drug use was 57.8% in the past 6 months and 78.7% ever. Of those using “party drugs” (MDMA, amphetamine, cocaine, methamphetamine, GHB, ketamine, LSD) recently, 29.2% had done so to enhance sex, the majority “once” (4.7%) or “a few times” (15.1%).
Conclusion The Flux online cohort design effectively recruits GBM in NZ. This will enable comparative research of the impact of HIV, STI and drug harm reduction policies in the two countries.
Disclosure No significant relationships.
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