From ice cream cone romances to STI testing-vans to throwing parties to find new youth leaders, what follows is a snap shot of three unique projects presented at the 2012 Gay Men’s Health Summit in Vancouver, each addressing the social determinants of health.
From the plenary session . .
hosted by Stacy Leblanc, PAN
presented by Mark Randall, from AIDS Calgary.
Goal: combat condom fatigue by creating a new safer sex campaign for Calgary’s gay and MSM community.
Rationale: create a product gay men and MSM would embrace as a “fresh long term campaign.”
“A new framework for HIV prevention encourages us to get to know each gay man where he is at, to hear his silent voice, understand his struggles, and empower him with the tools to make decisions.”
Stage 1: AIDS Calgary hired a consultant to conduct a review of safer sex campaigns. They also struck an advisory committee of gay men and MSM, as well as designed and disseminated a needs assessment survey for gay and MSM. They gathered data over 6 weeks and cross compared in order to define emerging trends and commonalities.
Stage 2: involved hiring a graphic designer for the project, giving him survey input, comments and themes identified by the respondents. They then recruited volunteer models from the community.
Stage 3: engaged two volunteer focus groups of 6+ men with one group specifically involving youth. These focus groups met with designers and agency staff to discuss and review design messages.
Stage 4: required choosing three final safer sexy tips which the graphic designer successfully incorporated as positive messages. They approved the final poster.
Stage 5: saw the launch of the campaign to community at PRIDE.
Successes and challenges of the campaign
For more information Mark can be reached at (403) 508 2500 ext. 129
presented by Michael Reid and Geoffrey Ford from YouthCo,
Goals: HIV and STI counselling, testing and treatment; harm reduction supplies, increase visibility; connect poz and neg clients to primary care providers and community service; and cyber outreach promote a continuum of care based on the premise of ENGAGE: TEST: LINK: RETAIN
“Vancouver’s very first Mobile Sexual Health Clinic! YouthC0 and Vancouver Coastal Health are teaming up to provide HIV & STI testing, treatment and referrals in our big yellow van. We’re aiming to normalize testing by making it as easy and accessible as possible. Plus, it’s totally free. Our peer supporter and registered nurse are bringing info, resources, and harm reduction supplies to Vancouver’s parks, beaches and events. Come check us out!” (from http://ycopub.wordpress.com/programs/know-on-the-go-mobile-health-clinic/)
Phase One: registered nurses with a certified practice in sexually transmitted infections offer confidential HIV/STI testing including on site diagnosis and treatment of most symptomatic STI’s as well as counselling and sexual health (including nPEP) information; they can also make referrals to other STI clinics and other MSM specific services and health counselling. They also offer private bookings at the office for quick follow up.
Locations and results: 16 clinics held from August 2 to Sept 13th 2012. The community appreciates the presence of the mobile service. On the first day six people got tested. Sites included Sunset Beach following the PRIDE parade; Wreck Beach and Stanley Park. Sunset beach 48 people tested in five hours (81% male; age across the board; 82% MSM; 19% had never tested for HIV; 6 months 21%; 1-3 years 12.5%; 3-5 years 12.5%; 6% 5 yrs. 8% unknown). Survey showed: 90% satisfaction with the service.
Phase 2: Pilot project intends to continue to expand mobile health sites with potential new clinic locations at night clubs, University health shows; pride events; Vancouver Sex Trade show; sin city events; theatre and private club sex venues; client recommended venues. Additional nursing services might include hepatitis immunizations.
Challenges: include running the service out of 1982 SUV (which broke down on Lions Gate Bridge!); the project needs more time than the funding allows; and bad weather can be a factor.
presented by YouthCO’s Michael Reid & Blake Stitilis
Context: young gay guys represent a quarter of all new HIV cases; their testing rates are lower; they lack sense of community - “gay guys want more gay friends.”
What is Mpowerment? Rather than a behavioural intervention the program seeks to build a more vital culture amongst younger gay men. As an evidence-based health promotion program it does so by addressing issues of homophobia, HIV criminalization; social support; geography; social norms; and stress.
Goals: to inspire i) healthy relationships; ii) safer sex; iii) routine HIV testing through peer to peer networks. Over the next two years they intend to reach 1,000 young guys!
What’s involved? The program breaks down to three levels of participation
Play: join social events with up to 100 guys to meet and mingle.
Know: The ‘Unmask’ training involves a three-hour workshop on sex, relationships, homophobia. (see video below)
Lead: From casual volunteer to core group member to events coordination guys choose their level of participation and community involvement.
Results (as of presentation):
Future Challenges include accessing people with a well-developed network of gay friends; suburban guys; positive guys; as well as reaching their chosen targets and the ever challenging behaviour change when it comes to healthier lifestyle choices.
Future Opportunities: the program looks forward to increasing its size and scope as well as partnering with the Health Initiative for Men (HIM) and Totally Outright.
For more information check out their savvy website: http://www.mpowermentyvr.com