Assessing Priorities for Combination HIV Prevention Research for Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) in Africa

Baral et al. (2013) full text summary PDF

For which topic were research priorities identified?

HIV prevention

In which location was the research priority setting conducted?


Why was it conducted at all?

Current epidemiological evidence documents high HIV prevalence and incidence among men who have sex with men (MSM) in several sub-Saharan settings, highlighting the role of sexual transmission of HIV between men. Engaging in research projects in these settings is intended to identify and address the needs of this population, but can highlight their existence and raise both positive and negative attention and social responses. The unintended consequences of research projects intended to help MSM can include heightened states of stigma and human rights violations, including violence.

What was the objective?

to assess the combination HIV prevention research priorities of academics, HIV implementing partners, government representatives, and men who have sex with men community leaders from across the African continent and beyond

What was the outcome?

a list of 9 research topics

How long did the research prioritization take?

March 2011

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?


How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: workshop: small group discussions to explore potential research possibilities for MSM in Africa, each group was tasked to develop biomedical, behavioral and structural HIV prevention research priorities, each group then developed HIV prevention research concepts, groups then presented their list of research priorities and prevention research concepts to the larger group for comment and discussion. Step 2: voting: each participant was provided with nine stickers (three stickers in three different colors), with each color assigned to a specific intervention theme, participants then placed a sticker next to the activity of research importance. Step 3: presentation of results to participants. Step 4: report: report circulated to comment and revise

Which stakeholders took part?

Academics, HIV implementing partners, government representatives, and MSM community leader. 69 participants: 19 primarily represented academia or research institutes, 14 primarily represented HIV implementing partners or service providers and 36 represented MSM community organizations

How were stakeholders recruited?

The academic participants were chosen for inclusion based on experience in HIV prevention research including HIV vaccine, microbicide, and PrEP development, as well as combination prevention interventions. In addition, researchers with specific expertise in behavioural and mental health interventions also participated. Implementing partners and service providers added to the process by contributing knowledge of their experience in the delivery of HIV prevention, treatment and care services in a variety of contexts with representation from Southern, Eastern, and Western Africa. MSM Community representatives including groups that focus on service provision, advocacy, and research (independently or in partnership with academics and implementing partners) provided MSM community perspectives to the discussions.

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders were mere participants of the research prioritization process; they were not actively involved in the process.