“Young guys today didn’t live through the AIDS crisis,” says CTN postdoc Nathan Lachowsky in the offices of the Momentum Health Study in the West End of Vancouver.
Recent years have seen an increase in the number of HIV diagnoses among young gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM), despite new tools for prevention. Many in this population may be less informed about or adherent to prevention methods since HIV has come to be seen as a manageable condition rather than a fatal diagnosis.
Dr. Lachowsky’s postdoctoral research seeks to address this problem by focusing on optimizing adherence to combination HIV prevention in young MSM. Combination HIV prevention is a UN-developed model that combines biomedical, behavioural, and structural prevention interventions targeted to specific populations.
Dr. Lachowsky’s project focuses on young MSM in Metro Vancouver, where he workes with the Momentum Health Study, a prospective cohort of over 700 MSM. “We get to see how sexual behavior, substance use, and prevention practices changes over the study period,” he says about the project. By following participants over time, researchers are able to pinpoint when and why prevention methods fail and target future interventions more accurately.
“I want to give young guys the health literacy skills so they can transcend all the changes that are happening with tools and technology,” he said, “because guys will continue to have sex, and some guys will continue to be at greater risk.” His ultimate goal is to decrease the transmission of HIV and STIs and increase the sexual satisfaction of young men, regardless of their HIV status.
Dr. Lachowsky says his postdoctoral project is part of a larger “life’s work” of increasing sexual health literacy among young men that he plans to continue long after his postdoc is complete.
And, he will have plenty of opportunity to continue his work.
Dr. Lachowsky recently accepted a position as Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health and Social Policy at the University of Victoria. And, he says, he is excited for the new challenge.
“Moving to a smaller centre proposes a unique challenge because, as we have seen, the very urban approach that works in the West End of Vancouver, for example, does not necessarily work in other settings,” he says.
He says the CTN Postdoctoral Awards Program “provided an opportunity for a focused project to build more questions and develop a program of research to, hopefully, address them.”
Forrest JI, Lachowsky NJ, Lal A, Cui Z, Sereda P, Raymond HF, Ogilvie GS, Roth EA, Moore D, Hogg RS. Factors associated with productive recruiting in a respondent-driven sample of men who have Sex with men in Vancouver, Canada. J Urban Health. 2016 Mar 9 [epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1007/s11524-016-0032-2.
Lachowsky NJ, Lal A, Forrest JI, Card KG, Cui Z, Sereda P, Rich A, Raymond HF, Roth EA, Moore DM, Hogg RS. Including online-recruited seeds: a respondent-driven sample of men who have sex with men. J Med Internet Res. 2016;18(3):e51–13.
Lachowsky NJ, Lin SY, Hull MW, Cui Z, Sereda P, Jollimore J, Rich A, Montaner JSG, Roth EA, Hogg RS, Moore DM. Pre-exposure prophylaxis awareness among gay and other men who have sex with men in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. AIDS Behav. 2016 Feb 16 [epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1007/s10461-016-1319-8.
Rich AJ, Lachowsky NJ, Cui Z, Sereda P, Lal A, Birch R, Montaner J, Moore D, Hogg RS, Roth EA. Substance use, sexual behaviour and prevention strategies of Vancouver gay and bisexual men who recently attended group sex events. Cult Health Sex. 2016 Apr;18(4):361–76.
Rich AJ, Lachowsky NJ, Cui Z, Sereda P, Lal A, Moore DM, Hogg RS, Roth EA. Event-level analysis of anal sex roles and sex drug use among gay and bisexual men in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Arch Sex Behav. 2015 Nov 2 [epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1007/s10508-015-0607-0.