The training material toolbox curriculum for training Community Health Workers (CHW) working with gay men and other MSM was developed in the frame of the EU-funded ESTICOM project ( The project aimed at improving access and the quality of prevention, diagnosis of HIV/AIDS, STI and viral hepatitis and health care services for gay men and other MSM.

The Project became an important opportunity to strengthen community response and raise awareness about the persisting legal, structural, political and social barriers hindering a more effective response to the syndemic of HIV, viral hepatitis B and C, and other STIs among gay men and other MSM. The project consisted of:

  • EMIS 2017 the survey addressing gay men and other MSM
  • ECHOES first ever survey among Community Health Workers (CHWs) across Europe. Its main objective was to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of CHWs providing sexual health services to gay, bisexual and other MSM in Europe.
  • And training programme for CHWs.

The training programme addresses a wide range of topics CHWs are working with and covers all main areas CHWs address in their work. It consists of a Face-to-Face training material for interactive workshops as well as E-Learning modules that are more knowledge based. The Face-to-Face material is published in several languages, including English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Greek, Romanian, Portuguese, and Russian. The material is also suitable to be used for training CHW that work with other communities than gay men and other MSM.

The training programme included and was partially based on result of the ECHOES. CHWs recruited in ECHOES reported activities in each step of the HIV, hepatitis, and STI service continuum: primary prevention, testing and screening, linkage to care, and treatment support. Crosscutting activities such as developing interventions and outreach activities or advocacy are also part of their ‘job profile’.

Structural and social issues were the biggest barriers faced by ECHOES respondents to perform CHW activities, especially: shortage of funding or resources at organisational level (62% of respondents), lack of funding for CHW organisation (65%), stigma around HIV or AIDS (77%) and stigma around homo-/bisexuality (59%). Overall, 10% of ECHOES respondents have not received any training for their current role as a CHW; these CHWs represent a core audience for current and future training programmes.

The full report is available here: European Community Health Worker Online Survey Report (PDF, 4MB, File does not meet accessibility standards.).