Many recent advances in HIV research are changing the way we understand HIV transmission, prevention and treatment - especially among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM).
- Early HIV treatment has been shown to increase health outcomes and significantly lower chances of HIV transmission.
- New options to prevent HIV transmission such as PEP and PrEP are changing the way we think about safer sex.
- A new generation of young gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men are growing up with no experience/memory of the AIDS crisis.
- HIV testing is becoming easier, faster and able to detect HIV infection sooner.
- Social, cultural and structural issues continue to create conditions where some people are more at risk for HIV transmission than others.
In response to these advances, a group of Canadian researchers and community organizations have teamed up to launch Engage - a multisite study that includes new HIV prevention interventions for gay and bisexual men. Over the next five years, Engage will lead research studies in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver to help us understand how new knowledge and options for testing, treatment and prevention are changing the landscape of HIV.
Engage is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN), and the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR).
We’re looking for you
We are currently recruiting gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men from all walks of life, including gay/bi/queer trans men, to join our Toronto Community Engagement Committee. Qualities we’re looking for in Community Engagement Committee members include:
- Passionate about the health and well-being of your community
- Have ideas and opinions about what is great, and what can be improved, about HIV and sexual health services in their city
- Well-connected to a variety of social groups, sub-communities and scenes
- Interests and experiences outside of health and social services
- Research experience is not necessary, nor is experience working or volunteering at an AIDS service organization. But an open and curious mind is important.
What are we asking?
Volunteers will review and test-run research instruments, give input on the development of communications tools like websites and promotional materials, and act as ambassadors to help build interest in the community for engaging with research.
The Community Engagement Committees will meet as needed. It is estimated that approximately 12 hours of meetings for the first year, followed by 6 hours of meetings for each of the remaining four years, will be required. Selected volunteers will be compensated with an annual stipend.
Role of the Community Engagement Committees (CEC):
1. The CECs will have regional scopes mainly focused on the urban and surrounding metropolitan areas of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, bringing together regional stakeholders from diverse communities to ensure the research best serves the communities’ interests.
2. The CEC will review and test-run questionnaires and other study tools such as consent forms and recruitment materials, assessing them for culturally appropriate and meaningful language, relevance and comprehensibility.
3. The CEC will assist in identifying and recruiting seeds (or initial participants) for the study.
4. The CEC will be the most community-based of the Engage team committees, and will aim to collect as much community insight as possible into recruitment, local prevention programs and knowledge translation opportunities.
5. The CEC members will serve as ambassadors for Engage, providing community updates and proactively identifying potential solutions to community issues that may arise.
How to Apply
Individuals interested in applying to be a Community Engagement Committee member can apply on-line here.
Application Deadline: Oct. 18th, 2015
All applicants will be contacted to be notified of the results. We anticipate that applicants will be selected and notified by October 23rd, 2015.
Our kind thanks.
Daniel Pugh (GMSH) and Len Tooley (Engage Study)
Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance of Ontario (GMSH™)