A local mapping of gay friendly venues will be done (see also Formative Research). TLS sampling method will be adopted for data collection (400 subjects) in cities/countries where feasible (according to conclusions of formative research). A preliminary assessment of the field conditions, such as safety of field team members and confidentiality in view of data collection, will be carried out. For each venue identified, MSM attendance, attendees’ flows pattern, special events or activities during specific days and times of the week will be evaluated.
A practical manual describing the sampling procedure and data collection methodology will be disseminated to the partners.
Data collectors will be recruited through gay associations and trained in each country in a 1 day session. Data collection (oral fluid samples and questionnaires)will be carried out in selected venues according to calendar. Target population: men who have had at least one sexual intercourse with another man. Each interviewer will be provided with all necessary equipment for collecting and linking both serological and behavioral data (identical barcode tags will be stuck on the sample holder and questionnaire to enable reliable tracking). The oral fluid samples will be collected by means of suitable saliva /oral fluid collectors in agreement with experts' opinion (Oracol device). Every person that undergoes the screening will be given a free pack containing a condom and a leaflet with some information on the closest HIV screening and counselling centres where people can get tested for free and will receive information on HIV/STI prevention. The training of data collectors will be extended during the field work in order to model the data collection according to the protocol. Partners will be in charge of monitoring data collection and of coaching interviewers during the task. This will be part of the ongoing evaluation process, that could also include regular meetings with data collectors.
TLS methodology is implemented in Spain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Italy (Rome, Milan, Catania, Naples).