Situating positive (Poz) prevention for gay men and MSM on the continuum of care, treatment and support in Ontario, Canada
M. Jose, M. Hickey
Toronto People with AIDS Foundation, Toronto, Canada
Issues: People living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) in Toronto and across Ontario are determined to have full voice in their healthcare and program needs including HIV prevention. Increasing criminalization of transmission and the desire to build a PHA driven approach to prevention further builds on the motivation of PHAs to create healthy communities and relationships.
Description: Responding to community passion around involving PHAs in prevention efforts, the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation partnered with the Ontario Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance and developed Poz Prevention materials for gay men and MSM and their service providers from a sexual health development perspective. PWA has translated these materials into a PHA peer engagement program, service provider training and various community fora on Poz Prevention.
Lessons learned: Community response was extremely positive for the sexual health materials, information and support that assisted PHAs in their efforts to make healthy decisions for themselves and others. Peer engagement significantly increased the program’s ability to “meet people where they are at” and be more effective in providing information, and opportunity to talk and gain support. The value of personal narratives in Poz Prevention efforts became evident as a critical component of connecting with community caring and increasing the intensity and impact of interactions. Several key questions arose related to effectively supporting and ensuring self care for the Peers and recognizing the emotional and social impacts of this work on them.
Next steps: HIV/AIDS narratives have shifted in recent years to broader and more complex considerations of what it means to live healthy, sexual, successful and contributory lives free of stigma and prejudice. While Poz Prevention has become a part of the lexicon, narrative response and continuum of care, treatment and support, within the Ontario AIDS movement, the need for the development of definitions, policy and guideline templates will be further explored.