Rally Round CARIMIS

The Caribbean Men’s Internet Survey (CARIMIS) is the first ever online study of the lives of men who have sex with men (MSM) in the Caribbean. And it is happening right now on www.carimis.com!

UNAIDS Caribbean needs your support to get maximum survey participation and the best possible data. Not only can this research answer key questions to help us respond more meaninfully to men who have sex with men in our region, but it could pave the way for learning about other hard-to-reach groups like sex workers.

You can help by:

1. Spreading the word;

2. Distributing discrete CARIMIS promotional cards;

3.Offering safe facilities for respondents to complete the survey;

4. Giving us information on how to reach MSM communities in your country.

Contact senior programme adviser, Michel de Groulard 

Web-based MSM survey going on now

This news comes by way of PANCAP.

“The first of its kind in the Caribbean, CARIMIS: Caribbean Men Internet Survey 2011 is happening all over the Caribbean. It is the largest ever Caribbean survey of gay men, transgender, bisexual men and other men who are attracted to men. It is an initiative of the UNAIDS Caribbean Regional Support Team.

“It asks about relationships, sex life, risks and precautions and use of health services. One of the goals is to see whether gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have access to HIV testing and prevention.

In the Caribbean, HIV prevalence among the MSM population ranges from 6.7 percent in Suriname to 32 percent in Jamaica. This is compared to an estimated adult prevalence in the region of one percent. The need to respond meaningfully to the MSM community in the Caribbean is obvious and urgent yet little is known about this key population.

“With this in mind, the CARIMIS seeks to collect information about the lives of MSM throughout the English, French, Spanish and Dutch-speaking Caribbean over a three month period starting from October 2011. The internet based survey is anonymous and the questionnaire takes about 20 minutes to complete. It aims to assess behavioural risks among Caribbean MSM while reaching populations who are inaccessible through more traditional sampling methods.

“CARIMIS offers a new approach to collecting Caribbean-wide but country-specific HIV behavioural risk data that may complement current traditional national and regional MSM studies. This will enable UNAIDS as well as our HIV collaborating partners to better estimate the magnitude of the HIV epidemic among Caribbean MSM,” said research associate, Sylette Henry-Buckmire.

“It is expected that the internet interface will attract more honest responses and therefore offer a better understanding of HIV infection dynamics within the Caribbean MSM community. Also successful implementation of this web-based MSM survey will inform similar studies for other highly stigmatized groups such as commercial sex workers.”

For further information on CARIMIS please contact Dr. Michel de Groulard at degroulardm@unaids.org

Who keeps children alive? Grandma!

That’s the findings from a review of 45 population studies from developing and developed countries conducted by researchers at London School of Economics and University College London.

For many of us who grew up n the Caribbean, it was not uncommon to be raised partly by our grandma, great-grandma, great aunt or another mother figure. These strong women help keep us not just alive but thriving in the absence (or presence) of our mothers and fathers.

The authors concluded that “the presence of at least one relative improves the survival rates of children if the mother dies, but that relatives differ in whether they are consistently beneficial to children or not. Maternal grandmothers improve child survival rates in the majority of studies, as do elder siblings, though the latter observation is based on rather few studies.”

According to the studies, fathers had little effect on child survival. This is not to say that fathers are any less important. The authors do call for more research on the role fathers actually play in children’s lives.

Reading this made me want to kiss my granny. Unfortunately, she’s too far away. But, I’ll send her a virtual one.

So, what role did your grandma (or another maternal figure) play in your life growing up?

The full article and access to the complete study is available from LSE’s website: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/researchAndExpertise/researchHighlights/socialPolicy/theresNooneQuiteLikeGrandma.aspx


I’ve recently been trying to get more information on who’s doing what in health communication across the region. In the course of my diggings, I came across this book published this past summer. Health Communication in the Caribbean and Beyond: A Reader by Dr. Godfrey A. Steele is an excellent resource for introducing the concepts and applications.  The book is described as a “comprehensive, wellresearched and up-to-date discussion of the local and international health communication literature and provides a theoretical and practical framework for teaching health and/or medical communication skills. It reviews, explains and applies health communication concepts and principles, and provides contexts for their application in both the classroom and in the health professions.”

In an article in Trinidad’s Guardian newspaper about the book’s launch quoted Dr Brader Brathwaite, retired senior lecturer in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, as saying

“The reader is just a trailblazer in a number of books that must now be published in the area of health communication because one day we may come to accept health communication will be the key to better health for Caribbean people.”

I think this is one of the best quotes I’ve seen for increased attention to the role of health communication in health promotion and disease prevention. I like it so much, I am going to add it to the header for my blog. Yeah!!!.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.guardian.co.tt/node/18424