What is ManCount?

The ManCount survey is designed for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, in order to measure the level of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in our community (such as syphilis, Hepatitis C, and Human Papilloma Virus). The survey also measures sexual behaviours and other factors that help to explain why these infections occur. We intend to repeat the ManCount survey every few years in order to monitor whether these infections and behaviours are increasing
or decreasing.

ManCount is the Vancouver site of a national survey involving several Canadian cities,  including Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Victoria, and is sponsored by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Why participate in the
ManCount survey?

The number of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men who are diagnosed with HIV and syphilis every year in the Vancouver region is increasing. We currently do not know how common other sexually transmitted infections such as Hepatitis C and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are in our community. The data from ManCount will allow us to better understand, monitor, and prevent these infections.

We intend to use the data to advocate for, and to guide the development of policies and programs which will improve the sexual health of our community. To do this, we need to make sure that the data describes our community fully, and reflects as best as possible all of the gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men in the Vancouver region. Your participation is essential - every man counts.

What’s involved in participating in
the ManCount survey?

The survey is conducted in bars, cafes, clubs, groups, and other locations in Davie Village and around the city of Vancouver, where survey staff will approach you to see if you are interested in participating. If you are approached and agree to participate in ManCount, you will fill out a 20 to 30 minute survey with questions related to your demographic information, and health and sexual behaviours. Once you are done the survey, a survey interviewer will collect a blood sample from you. This will be done using a finger-stick method (a sterile technique where staff will poke your fingertip, and collect blood drops on a piece of cardboard, similar to how a diabetic would test their blood sugar). The blood sample will be sent to a laboratory which will test the blood sample for HIV and other infections.

The survey is completely anonymous, and participants cannot be identified. This applies as well to the results of the blood testing - these results will not be returned to you. To recognize your contribution and time spent participating in the survey, we will be giving you a small cash token of appreciation.

In this round of ManCount, after completing the survey and blood drop collection, you will also have the option of providing a rectal swab (by following easy-to-use instructions for collection). This swab will be tested for Human Papilloma Virus HPV), chlamydia and gonorrhea. Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men are at increased risk of anal cancer caused by HPV. The information from this part of ManCount will be used to inform the development of programs to prevent anal cancer, such as HPV vaccine programs and anal pap testing, These programs are not currently available for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men in British Columbia, and having data on the prevalence of HPV in our community is essential to developing these programs.

The rectal swab will be collected either on site, or by asking you to follow-up at a local clinic or agency where the rectal swab kits are available. This component of the study will be introduced in late August 2008.

Links:

Public Health Agency of Canada - M-Track
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/aids-sida/about/mtrack_e.html

Montreal Argus site
http://www.argusquebec.ca/english/index.html

Toronto, Ottawa - Lambda Survey
http://www.lambdasurvey.ca/index.html
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