Men Who Have Sex With Men
Sex Now is a community-based national study of gay, bisexual, queer, and trans men and Two-Spirit and non-binary people (GBT2Q). Sex Now 2022 will take place at Pride festivals and related community venues across Canada. The study will collect information on the health and well-being of GBT2Q people, examine barriers and facilitators of self-testing for HIV, and assess linkage to treatment, prevention, and testing across the country.
GBT2Q in Canada continue to experience disproportionately high rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. While rates of HIV in other groups have declined, rates have remained stable in the GBT2Q community. These people face barriers to testing and care, which vary across the country, as well as social barriers like homophobia and stigma. Innovative new approaches to testing are needed to address the epidemic in this community and current population data are essential to inform related public health programs and policies.
The Sex Now survey is Canada’s largest and longest running health survey of all GBT2Q men, Two-Spirit, and non-binary people. It has been an essential source of data on the health and well-being of these communities, and is widely used by community, public health, research, and policy stakeholders. Supported by the CTN, the Sex Now 2022 team will be collecting data in person across Canada for the first time since 2018.
Participants will be recruited in person at Pride festivals in 20 cities across Canada, from June 2022 to September 2022. Participants will be screened for eligibility and complete a consent form before completing an electronic questionnaire. The survey will include questions about sociodemographics, mental and sexual health, HIV, health care access, substance use practices, and other items.
People who are aged 18+ will be invited to participate in the HIV self-testing component of the study. These participants will be offered a free fingerstick HIV self-test, which can be completed on site or at home. Participants will be offered a second HIV self-test, which they can either use themselves at a later date or give to a partner or friend. All participants will be asked to report the result of the self-test and answer a few questions about their experience using the test in a follow-up survey, as well as questions about access to testing, care, and prevention tools.
Finally, peer navigators (“Test Now Buddies”) will follow-up with all participants who complete a self-test to provide support and additional counselling within four weeks of participation to encourage access to prevention resources, re-testing, and linkage to care. Data collected during the study will identify the key factors that facilitate effective linkage to prevention and care for people engaging in HIV self-testing, and the role that peer navigators may play in this process.
If you would like to take part in this study or want more information, please contact:
National STBBI Testing & Linkage Implementation Manager
Community-Based Research Centre