Challenges on the Ground: Conducting HIV/AIDS Research with Men Who Have Sex with Men in Chennai, India

  • Peter A. Newman University of Toronto


This narrative describes the author's experiences designing and implementing collaborative research projects focused on HIV/AIDS prevention and care with men who have sex with men (MSM) in Chennai, India. Various personal, logistical, methodological, and ethical challenges in launching and conducting research with a highly stigmatized and vulnerable population in the developing world are addressed, as well as negotiation of these challenges. In particular, field research with vulnerable communities need not dispense with rigor, while at the same time maintaining feasibility and flexibility and the utmost protection of participants and research staff. Research is presented as a tool to support advocacy, health, and human rights.

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