Rethinking Methods and Ethics in Male Sexual Risk Behaviour Research "CANCELLED"

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 10:30 AM
Room: Booth 52
Don Eliseo III LUCERO-PRISNO , Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Tuan Phong LY , The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Studying sexual behaviour of men is always a challenge to many researchers.  This is a qualitative study on the sexual risk taking behaviour of men in the context of HIV/AIDS.  The occupational group of seafarers are chosen for this particular study in the port city of Santos, Brazil.  Seafaring is a male dominated mobile occupational group at very high risk to HIV with many seafaring countries having reported high prevalence rates of HIV.  Ethnographic work in the red light district was conducted consisting of in-depth interviews and nightly observations.  Local non-profit organizations working in the field were approached for entry to the site.  Results showed that sexual behaviour remains a sensitive topic to discuss. Researchers need extra skills and knowledge to elicit substantial and quality information.  Sex of the researcher and the way he deals with the individuals play important roles in data gathering.  The study encountered various hurdles in the areas of ethics, security, and safety given the nature of the study, which dealt with a semi-legal environment of prostitution and drugs.  Language, cultural differences, and other idiosyncrasies have to be considered in doing the fieldwork.  Ethnography is an effective method to understand many phenomena because this form of inquiry digs deeper into the ‘relationships’ (with the sex workers).  Length of time of researcher’s immersion in the field makes him strongly embedded.  A rich reflexive account in an ethnographic setting is a major output in a qualitative study.  Methodological issues raised in this study provide substantial contribution to the continuing search for appropriate methods in enriching areas of research on men’s sexuality and sexual risk-taking behaviour, strengthening ethics in methods and research approaches, and looking for more ways in understanding the AIDS epidemic through a gender perspective.