New article to be published in BMC Public Health on SIALON II

Bio-behavioural HIV and STI surveillance among Men who have Sex with Men in Europe: the Sialon II protocols


Globally, the HIV epidemic is representing a pressing public health issue in Europe and
elsewhere. There is an emerging and progressively urgent need to harmonise HIV and
STI behavioural surveillance among MSM across European countries through the
adoption of common indicators, as well as the development of trend analysis in order
to monitor the HIV-STI epidemic over time. The Sialon II project protocols have been
elaborated for the purpose of implementing a large-scale bio-behavioural survey
among MSM in Europe in line with a Second Generation Surveillance System (SGSS)

Sialon II is a multi-centre biological and behavioural cross-sectional survey carried out
across 13 European countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland,
Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK) in community
settings. A total of 4.966 MSM were enrolled in the study (3.661 participants in the TLS
survey, 1.305 participants in the RDS survey). Three distinct components are foreseen
in the study protocols: first, a preliminary formative research in each participating
country. Second, collection of primary data using two sampling methods designed
specifically for ‘hard-to-reach’ populations, namely Time Location Sampling (TLS) and
Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS). Third, implementation of a targeted HIV/STI
prevention campaign in the broader context of the data collection.

Through the implementation of combined and targeted prevention complemented by
meaningful surveillance among MSM, Sialon II represents a unique opportunity to pilot
a bio-behavioural survey in community settings in line with the SGSS approach in a
large number of EU countries. Data generated through this survey will not only provide
a valuable snapshot of the HIV epidemic in MSM but will also offer an important trend
analysis of the epidemiology of HIV and other STIs over time across Europe.
Therefore, the Sialon II protocol and findings are likely to contribute significantly to
increasing the comparability of data in EU countries through the use of common
indicators and in contributing to the development of effective public health strategies
and policies in areas of high need.

For the full ‘accepted’ version of the paper see the link. The final published version will shortly be avaialble on BMC Public Health’s website. PUBH-D-15-00881_R2 (002)


Building capacity to reduce health inequalities through health promotion in Europe




Whilst considerable attention has been paid to describing and measuring health inequalities, relatively little attention has been paid to ways to effectively reduce health inequalities within and among populations. This article presents a conceptual framework for capacity building to assist stakeholders at the regional level within Europe to maximise the potential of healthy public policies and practices to reduce these inequalities as a core part of strategic action plans to access European Structural Funds.

Subject and methods

Within the ACTION-FOR-HEALTH (A4H) project co-funded by the European Commission (EC), a conceptual framework for capacity building to reduce health inequalities was developed and evaluated. The evaluation design adopted mixed methods involving a series of focus groups (n = 22), interviews (n = 14) and questionnaires (n = 34) involving the project partners.


We present the A4H conceptual framework, which is based on a series of capacity-building actions comprising three key areas: (1) developing knowledge and skills; (2) building partnerships; (3) creating action plans. The evaluation data show that the project contributed to enhancing capacities in all three of these areas, at the regional, organisational, and individual levels.


Focussing mostly on building capacities, the A4H project has the potential to have several sustainable outcomes. Our results underscore the importance of the capacity-building approach for the reduction of health inequalities in Europe.Gugglberger, Sherriff et al 2015_A4H

Fit for the future – online consultation closes Jan 31

This week I attended a Public Health Workforce review consultation meeting with PHE – there are some interesting changes afoot, and a promising sense of recognition that public health is not just for medically or clinically trained professionals. Much of the discussion was decidedly ‘health promotion’ – talk of empowering people from all walks of life to address health issues. The chief of Berkshire Firefighters gave an impressive talk on how home-fire prevention services can also bring in health promotion.  There is also talk of developing a public health skills passport.

There is an online consultation on the future direction of public health workforce – the closing deadline has been extended to Jan 31st -it takes about 15 minutes and has some thought provoking questions. DO have your say:

The background document – best to read if first- is at

Everywhere in Japan: an international approach to working with commercial gay businesses in HIV prevention

Check out our new article on HIV prevention among Men who have Sex with Men in Japan, building on the European Everywhere Project.


In the UK and Japan, there is concern regarding rising rates of annual new HIV infections among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM). Whilst in the UK and Europe, gay businesses are increasingly recognized as being important settings through which to deliver HIV prevention and health promotion interventions to target vulnerable populations; in Japan such settings-based approaches are relatively underdeveloped. This article draws on qualitative data from a recently completed study conducted to explore whether it is feasible, acceptable and desirable to build on the recent European Everywhere project for adaptation and implementation in Japan. A series of expert workshops were conducted in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka with intersectoral representatives from Japanese and UK non-governmental organizations (NGOs), gay businesses, universities and gay communities (n = 46). Further discussion groups and meetings were held with NGO members and researchers from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s Research Group on HIV Prevention Policy, Programme Implementation and Evaluation among MSM (n = 34). The results showed that it is desirable, feasible and acceptable to adapt and implement a Japanese version of Everywhere. Such a practical, policy-relevant, settings-based HIV prevention framework for gay businesses may help to facilitate the necessary scale up of prevention responses among MSM in Japan. Given the high degree of sexual mobility between countries in Asia, there is considerable potential for the Everywhere Project (or its Japanese variant) to be expanded and adapted to other countries within the Asia-Pacific region.

For the full paper, see here:

Health improvement in East Sussex. Findings released

health improvement summary

The findings of a recently completed project on engaging with young people to inform health improvement commissioning in East Sussex, have now been released. Two versions of the reports are available, one full report and a shorter more accessible summary report designed specifically for the young people who took part. For copies of the report see the link:

ESCC_Accessible Summary_Nov 15

ESCC_Final Report_Nov_15

Project web page is here:

SUGAR in the news – going beyond the sugar tax headlines

Its worth digging down beyond the sugar- tax proposals that are making all the headlines from Public Health England’s sugar evidence review.  Here are a few points from the report that are worth chewing over:

  1. Marketing in all its many forms consistently influences food preference, choice and purchasing in children and adults. End of aisle displays, for example, leads to a 50% increase in purchases of fizzy drinks.
  2. Food promotions are more widespread in Britain than anywhere else in Europe, accounting for around 40% of all domestic food and drink spending. IMG_2125
  3. Price promotions increase the amount of food and drink people buy by around one-fifth. These are purchases people would not make without the in-store promotions. They also increase the amount of sugar purchased from higher sugar foods and drinks by 6% overall and influence purchasing by all socioeconomic and demographic groups.