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Updating the “map” of prevention services

posted on 2016-03-08 / IN Results / 0 Comments

Additional funding generously provided by the CIHR Centre for REACH in HIV/AIDS (REACH 2.0) will allow us to proceed with an updated “mapping” of the prevention services currently being offered in Montreal. We had previously been unable to include this as part of the MOBILISE! project due to funding limitations. The goal of this new component is to undertake a systematic survey of all existing HIV and STI prevention programs and services aimed specifically at men who have sex with men (MSM). Funding from REACH 2.0 will also support collaboration with partners in Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver who are developing similar initiatives in each of these cities.

A preliminary mapping of prevention services undertaken between 2010 and 2012 served as a catalyst for the MOBILISE! project and led to the emergence of an inter-sectoral coalition of partners (community members, clinicians, health professionals, researchers, community-based media) committed to strengthening HIV prevention efforts in the gay community and for other MSM. On the basis of this initial mapping, the coalition raised a number of concerns about how the fight against HIV was being approached. Coalition members reached the conclusion that a process of community mobilization was necessary to bring about improvements in access to HIV and STI prevention services and tools.

The prevention landscape of 2016 has evolved and an update of the survey that was carried out four years ago is badly needed. As part of this work, focus groups for community members and for service providers and health professionals will be held in the month of April. A comprehensive survey of available services and programs will be carried out between May and August, followed by an evaluation process with members of the inter-sectoral coalition that will take place this fall.

This participatory research and evaluation process will serve as a complement to the information and ideas being shared during community teams discussions that we are also compiling. Gathering these various types of data will help us identify what needs to be done to improve programs and policies, enhance sexual health services, and optimize access to combination prevention.

Image: Kristen Shuler, Hey Paul Studios (used with permission under a Creative Commons license).

By Thomas Haig