Institute for Global Health


Tyrone Curtis

Tyrone's thesis title is "Heterosexual-identifying men who have sex with men: who are they, what do they do, and what are their health needs?"

His primary supervisor is Dr Cath Mercer.

To get in touch with Tyrone, please email him at tyrone.curtis@ucl.ac.uk.

About Tyrone

I grew up on the Gold Coast in Australia, and graduated with a BSc in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia in 2006. I moved to London in 2008, after teaching English for 18 months in Tokyo, Japan. In 2014 I completed a part-time MSc in Applied Statistics with Medical Applications at Birkbeck College, graduating with a distinction. My MSc project investigated sexual risk and HIV risk reduction strategies used by men who have sex with men in the UK. In 2016 I was awarded a UCL-Birkbeck Medical Research Council Doctoral Training Programme (MRC DTP) 4-year studentship, under the Populations, People and Data across the Life Course theme, starting in September 2016. As a break from my PhD work, I enjoy going to concerts, swimming and running. I also take regular flying trapeze lessons, and have been working as a catcher/instructor on a casual basis since summer 2017. 

Thesis summary

My project is investigating men who have sex with men (MSM) who identify as heterosexual or straight, and in particular, their sexual behaviour and health. Recruitment to studies of sexual health and sexual behaviour of heterosexual-identifying MSM can be extremely challenging, due to their marginalized status and the sensitive nature of the research, limiting the feasibility of meaningful quantitative epidemiological research. As a result, we know much less about their sexual health and sexual behaviour than that of gay and bisexual men, and there is reason to believe that there may be differences between these groups. For example, heterosexual-identifying MSM may not visit the same bars, clubs, or websites as gay or bisexual men, and as a result they may not be receiving relevant information about sexual health and risk reduction. This puts them, as well as their partners (male or female), at risk.

My project seeks to avoid the difficulty in recruiting these men by pooling data from multiple surveys of gay, bisexual and other MSM from Western Europe, Canada, Australia and NZ over the last 10 years. Each of these individual survey datasets may have only a handful of heterosexual-identifying MSM, but by pooling the data together we can carry out statistical analyses not possible with the individual samples. Along with this survey work, I am carrying out a systematic review to summarise what is already known about this population, and next year I will be conducting qualitative interviews with heterosexual-identifying MSM to further investigate their experiences of sex, STI/HIV testing, their awareness of risk reduction strategies, and their sources of sexual health information

The ultimate aims of the project are to understand the sexual health and behaviour of these men, to compare them to those of gay and bisexual men, and to determine ways in which their sexual health can be improved.