published on March 25, 2019 by Shauna Lewis, in Daily Xtra
Canadian researchers from Sex Now, Momentum and other studies weigh in
A surge of government-funded studies into HIV and the health of gay and bisexual men marks a new recognition among public health officials of the community’s needs, say some researchers.
“Gay and bisexual men have been largely neglected as a population within the HIV epidemic in the early 2000s,” says Olivier Ferlatte, a researcher with the Community-Based Research Centre in Vancouver.
“I think now gay and bisexual men are increasingly being recognized by public health,” he says, “and that’s why we are seeing the surge of research that we should have seen much sooner.”
“Gay men have been representing half of the new HIV infections for over a decade,” he notes, “but it’s just now that we are seeing an interest in us.”
Ferlatte and his colleagues, with support from Vancouver’s Health Initiative for Men (HIM), are working on the 2015 edition of the Sex Now survey, which was first launched in Vancouver in 2002. The survey, now national, is particularly interested this year in different perspectives among generations of men who have sex with men.
Like the Sex Now researchers, Nathan Lachowsky, the project director for Vancouver’s Momentum Health Study on HIV infection rates among gay and bisexual men, says his research goes beyond HIV to study gay men’s health more broadly.
“HIV continues to disproportionately affect gay men. We are working to improve prevention programs and services for all gay men,” he says. “However, our research also focuses on health issues beyond HIV, including sexual health and STIs, substance use and mental health. These are issues that directly or indirectly affect all gay men.”