A sexual health charity has launched a new website and printed materials in six languages in an attempt to reach migrants.

A CHAPS campaign, the programme is funded by the Department of Health.

CHAPS is a partnership of community-based organisations, co-ordinated by THT, which carry out HIV health promotion work with gay men in England and Wales.

‘Gay Britain’, is for migrant gay and bisexual men. It was launched in response to evidence that this group were at risk from HIV and other STIs.

“According to research conducted by Sigma Research this is particularly true for those with lower educational qualifications and little knowledge of English,” said THT.

The report, from 2004, surveyed eighteen men, mostly legal migrants from Southern Europe, South America and the Caribbean. There were three illegal migrants and two asylum seekers.

The leaflets have been produced in English, Polish, French, Portuguese, Spanish and French.

Marc Thompson, Deputy Head of Health Promotion at THT said:

“Some gay men come to the UK to escape homophobia and abuse and to live a more liberated life. But when they get here they find things are more difficult than they expected.

“Problems with the language, finding work and affordable accommodation, as well as new-found sexual liberation and the highly sexualised nature of the gay scene can leave men vulnerable to picking up or passing on HIV and other STIs.

The website and leaflets aim to give men who are new to the UK the information and contacts they need to stay safe and adjust to life in Gay Britain.”

THT has also produced a ‘Scene but unseen’ resource pack for people working with gay men or in the sexual health sector who may have migrant clients or service users.