About the study (objectives)
Focusing on gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM), the Engage Study will measure and compare the factors that affect the effectiveness, access to, and availability of HIV prevention programs in major urban centres in Canada.
About the disease/condition (background/context)
Modern HIV prevention strategies can come in many different forms. Biomedical technologies such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prohpylaxis (PEP) have been successful in decreasing HIV transmission. Sociobehavioural prevention approaches, such as educational, counselling, and safer sex programs, especially in conjunction with other strategies, have also been effective. However, uptake and exposure to these programs differs between cities and between different groups of people.
CTN 300 will collect information on the factors that affect HIV risk behaviour, access to prevention and treatment programs, and other determinants of HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The collected data will be compared between cities (Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal), allowing researchers to evaluate current HIV and STI prevention strategies and to identify gaps in care and the shortcomings of current programming.
Study Approach (methodology)
About 2400 HIV+ and HIV- participants will be enrolled between the three cities. The Engage Study uses a method called Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) where selected community members invite potential participants through their social networks.
The study will use a series of biological tests to measure recent HIV and STI infections and determine prevalence. Questionnaires will also be administered to determine sexual risk taking behaviour, knowledge of and access to educational and biomedical HIV preventions programs, and other information. The data will be collected at baseline and 12 months and compared across cities and time points. Researchers will use this information to identify which programs are being accessed, which programs are associated with a decrease in HIV and STI prevalence, and other factors that are associated with engagement with care or recent infection.
- Gender-identify as a man, including men who identify on the trans-masculine spectrum
- 16 years of age or older
- Reported sexual activity with a man in the previous six months
- Received a RDS voucher for participation in the study, or was invited to be an initial “seed” participant
- Ability to complete a computer-based questionnaire in English (each site) or French (in Montreal)
- Ability to provide informed consent
BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS