Exploring health and HIV for men who have sex with men in London: how can perceptions of health be used to achieve improved HIV prevention outcomes?

Year of award: 2017


  • Bryan Lim

    Goldsmiths, University of London

Project summary

This study will draw on post-humanist thought and process theory to examine how the sexual practices of men who have sex with men (MSM) and their perceptions of health and illness in relation to HIV are entangled. By situating MSM's sexual practices in a larger context, I will build an appreciation of how the boundaries, properties, meanings and identities of humans, technology and viruses are constantly enacted.

Ethnographic research will be carried out in a men’s sauna in London and in-depth, semi-structured interviews will be conducted with MSM to help understand how PrEP (HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis) affects the way MSM live their lives and their attitudes to HIV and other microbes. Where observation is not possible, the ‘interview to the double’ method will be used to represent and analyse MSM’s practices. Interviewees will be asked to imagine they have a double who will replace them, before being asked to provide detailed instructions to ensure that the double is not exposed to HIV.

My work can be used to examine how changing sexual practices and attitudes may improve HIV prevention. A workshop with relevant stakeholders will be arranged to explore how the research can be translated into practical policy and health service delivery regarding HIV prevention.