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Background

Ontario and the rest of the developed world are at a tipping point in our efforts to stop HIV. Over the past 30+ years, we have made incredible progress developing HIV treatments that can protect people’s health and eliminate the risk of further transmission. We now have highly effective treatments and new approaches to prevention. We know that early and ongoing antiretroviral treatment improves the health of people living with HIV and can virtually eliminate the risk of transmission. We also have a clearer understanding of how the broader social determinants of health – poverty, housing instability, food insecurity, mental health issues, addictions, violence, abuse, stigma, and social and structural inequities – put people at risk and threaten the health of people living with HIV.

The challenge now is to use the knowledge and tools we have to deliver more effective programs and services to those who need them. Accordingly, the OHTN will invest in people and projects that have the potential to drive change in Ontario HIV health and social systems.

Populations in Ontario Most Affected by HIV

We know that some populations in Ontario are more affected by HIV and targeting resources and programs to those populations can make a difference.

  • People living with HIV
  • Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men
  • People who inject drugs
  • African, Caribbean and Black communities
  • Indigenous communities

The Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) is a nonprofit, stakeholder-driven organization funded by the AIDS Bureau of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Our vision is to see communities thriving now and beyond HIV. Our Endgame Strategic Plan lays out our plan to work with people living with HIV, affected communities, care providers, researchers and policymakers to make new HIV infections rare and to help people with HIV lead long healthy lives free of discrimination. We call this plan the HIV Endgame because we believe that by making the correct tactical moves over the next 10 years, we can stop HIV. Read the OHTN Endgame Plan to 2026.

The Role of Evidence in the Endgame

Innovators are essential partners in the OHTN Endgame Strategy.  We will draw on Ontario’s innovation expertise to identify knowledge gaps and use data and evidence to support the design, implementation, improvement and scale-up of programs and services that move Ontario closer to the HIV endgame. The OHTN will work closely and collaboratively with funded innovators to achieve our mission and goals.

The OHTN HIV Endgame Program will support projects that have the potential to:

  • meet the needs of populations in Ontario most affected by HIV
  • drive changes in policy and practice across the HIV prevention, engagement, and care cascade
  • lead to more integrated health and social services
  • identify effective ways to address the social determinants that have a negative impact on the health of communities most affected by HIV
  • contribute to a rapid learning HIV health and social system

What is a Rapid Learning Health and Social System? What are our priorities?

Rapid Learning is a systems-level approach that guides networks of service and care providers to work with the communities they serve and with evidence and policy partners to make improvements. This is what we hope to create in the HIV sector. Learn more about rapid learning and the characteristics of a rapid learning health and social system.

Through our strategic planning process and consultations with our stakeholders, we have identified a series of priorities. We are currently working with our partners to make progress in seven key rapid learning areas:

  • Effective PrEP scale-up in Ontario
  • Population-focused prevention and health promotion
  • HIV testing
  • Linkage, adherence, and retention in care
  • Clinical care standards and capacity
  • Integration of services
  • Mental health and well-being of people living with and at risk of HIV (including stigma reduction)

Note: Our Program priorities and rapid learning areas will be reviewed and updated every two years, based on consultations with stakeholders. For the upcoming competition all funded projects must be relevant to one of learning areas.

The Endgame Awards

Through our HIV Endgame Program we will offer a selection of awards to draw on Ontario’s innovation expertise in ways that help us reach the Endgame. Not every award will be offered every year, we will use these awards strategically to help achieve the Endgame.

  • The HIV Endgame Leader Awards – a selection of salary awards for innovators at different stages of their careers including student awards and support for investigators in front line service environments (community fellows)
  • Game Changer Awards – investigator-driven awards that will build on the engagement of Ontario’s HIV innovation community to generate game-changing knowledge, and pilot and scale up game-changing interventions
  • Community- Based Project and Participatory Evaluation Awards – to support Community-based agencies, their staff, and people living with HIV/AIDS to undertake projects, needs assessments, quality improvements, and evaluation activities that help develop and modify effective programs, services and policy or generate data to make the case for additional data and evidence sharing relevant to Ontario’s needs.
  • Emerging Issues Awards – will will support projects in areas where OHTN, in consultation with our stakeholders, have defined clear gaps in knowledge and where we will issue a directed call for proposals, targeting innovators with a strong track record in related issues and the potential to conduct rapid interventions.

More detailed descriptions of all of these funding programs are now available.