Pivot Point spoke with Liam Acherson, Research Officer at the St Vincent’s Hospital Alcohol and Drug Service about the Substance Use and Sex Index study (SUSI). The study is currently seeking participants, to find out more visit the SUSI website and read on below.
Why is the SUSI study important?
Neither substance use nor sexual behaviour is inherently ‘risky’, but we do know that there is some relationship with transmission of HIV, STIs and other BBVs. There is currently no tool that effectively assesses these things in today’s changing sexuality and drug use landscapes. SUSI, therefore, is needed to make sure we have a way to effectively measure risk behaviours in a modern context.
In a nutshell, what is the aim of the SUSI study?
The Substance Use and Sex Index (SUSI) tool will provide a more effective way of measuring risk behaviours compared with tools that are currently in use. When we say tool, we mean a device that helps someone achieve a goal, like how a hammer can help build a house. SUSI was developed with the aim to support the effective treatment of substance use disorders as well as support effective prevention, treatment and care relating to HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood borne viruses (BBVs).
What does participating in the study involve?
The online questionnaire will ask about any sexual activities you have engaged in over the last month including: the number and gender identity of sexual partners; drug use; group sex; blood play and condom use. It will also ask questions about your own gender and sexual identity. The questionnaire should take only 5-10 minutes to complete.
We also seek volunteers to repeat the questionnaire in 3-5 days. This helps us assess the reliability of the tool. If you wish to participate, please provide your e-mail address before clicking ‘submit’. You will be e-mailed a link to the follow-up questionnaire in 3 days.
The study started recruiting participants in February, don’t miss your chance to get involved.