School of Population Health


Gay Men’s Sexual Health (GMSH) Research Group - our focus

Health equality


Communities have a right to health but the needs of communities differ. Sexual orientation minorities are entitled to health education, policies and services that are relevant and appropriate. We support the aspirations of sexual orientation minorities, in particular in identifying and reducing health disparities.

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Election 2014: Priorities in Sexual Health
This presents our view of five priorities for the 2014 general election – “5 for ‘14” - to improve the sexual health of gay and bisexual men in New Zealand. (65.8 kB, PDF)
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Submission to PHARMAC on human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination for men who have sex with men (MSM) and people living with HIV (PLWH)
Our submission to PHARMAC to alter the National Immunisation Guidelines and extend HPV vaccination to MSM and PLWH. (537.5 kB, PDF)
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Submission to the Select Committee on Health
Our submission to the Select Committee on the Health Public Health (Protection) Amendment Bill regarding STI surveillance and notification (237.6 kB, PDF)
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Submission on proposed Auckland Regional Sexual Health Services workforce review
Our submission to Auckland, Waitamata and Counties Manukau District Health Boards on the Consultation Document: Auckland Regional Sexual Health Service Workforce Review (214.2 kB, PDF)
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Submission to Pharmac on expanded access to HIV antiretroviral therapy
Our joint submission to Pharmac advocating for expanded HIV treatment access and removal of CD4 threshold (190.5 kB, PDF)
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Submission to Statistics NZ on sexual orientation in census
Our submission to Statistics NZ advocating for a sexual orientation question to be included in census 2018 (183.1 kB, PDF)
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Submission to ADHB on the Sexual Health Services Staffing Model Consultation
Our submission to ADHB on the proposed downsizing of specialist sexual health services, Oct 2016 (151.5 kB, PDF)
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Submission to Pharmac on proposal to widen HPV vaccine eligibility
Our submission supporting the proposed extension of HPV vaccination to boys, June 2016 (114.3 kB, PDF)
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Supplementary submission to Pharmac on HPV vaccination for gay and bisexual men
Our supplementary submission urging changes to HPV vaccination with new evidence Jan 2016 (212.5 kB, PDF)
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Sampling and research methods


The methods typically used in health research may not be appropriate for sampling small, invisible, geographically clustered and stigmatised populations. Our work has included sexual orientation data collection, population enumeration, community-based recruitment, offline and web-based sampling, generalisability issues, and novel approaches such as respondent-driven sampling (RDS).

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Submission to the Ministry of Health on Sexual Orientation Data Collection
Combined submission between the GMSH research group and the New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) (320.8 kB, PDF)
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Measuring behaviours


Sexual health surveys, like much research, involve trade-offs: for example between question simplicity and comprehensiveness. Data analysis requirements, respondent burden, and meaningfulness of reporting are also important if results are to usefully inform public health praxis. We are particularly interested in applying these qualities to research on condom use and HIV testing.

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Sexual networks


Explanations for the invasion, spread and persistence of sexually transmitted pathogens in communities require an understanding of processes beyond the individual and couple. Meso-level phenomena such as sexual contact networks, connectivity, mixing and partner distribution in populations today and over time influence HIV and STI epidemics. Data collected on these determinants complement information on sexual practices, condom use and testing.

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Principles of HIV and STI control


Learning about what drives HIV and STI epidemics can also teach us about effective control strategies. The potential spread of sexually transmitted infections in a susceptible population is determined by the dynamic interaction of three parameters: the average probability of transmission between individuals, the sexual contact patterns in a community, and the average duration of infectiousness. As epidemics mature, as interventions are rolled out, as diagnosis and treatment options evolve, and as populations and environments change, so too can the prevalence and incidence of infection.

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Community-based HIV prevention


In New Zealand as in many countries, initial responses to HIV were led by affected communities themselves. The encouragement of voluntary behaviour change by most-at risk groups remains a key requirement for epidemic control, meaning peer-led and community-based organisations continue to perform an essential role in HIV prevention. Interventions proposed by scientists and researchers must be implemented and sustained in the real world with constrained resources, and community organisations have valuable practical experiences to share. Our group has strong relationships with the New Zealand AIDS Foundation and other community organisations to encourage effective public health responses.

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Health promotion


A characteristic of HIV prevention in New Zealand has been its basis in health promotion philosophy: making the healthy choice the easy choice. Healthy public policy, supportive environments, community empowerment, health service transformation, skill development and social marketing remain central to New Zealand’s successes. Our goal is to advocate effectively to Government and in the public square to further improve the potential of public health.

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Blood donor deferral criteria


The emergence of HIV is recognised as a pivotal moment in blood safety internationally. Testing of blood donations and voluntary deferral of individuals who may have heightened exposure to blood borne and transfusion transmissible infections are cornerstones of HIV control. Ensuring the safety of the blood supply while interfering as little as possible in the interests of potential blood donors remains a key public health and human rights debate. We are involved in blood safety issues, including discussion papers and membership of the donor deferral criteria review group.

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Changes to Blood Donor Deferral Criteria - Summary Guide 2014
This community guide by the Gay Men’s Sexual Health research group, University of Auckland, summarises the recommendations to the New Zealand Blood Service by the independent review group to amend blood donor deferral criteria in 2014. (350.8 kB, PDF)
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Review of Blood Donor Deferral Criteria - 2014
In 2013 the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) asked an independent review group, to re-examine the current criteria for the deferral of people from blood donation based on sexual behaviour. This is the report of their findings. (1.5 MB, PDF)
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Advocacy and service


Members of the group actively participate in community networks, in advisory capacities, and as members of sexual health and HIV societies. We are interested in expanding these relationships; if you would like to discuss new initiatives please get in touch with our group:

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