Research Team: Trevor Hart (nominated principal investigator), Barry Adam (co-principal investigator), Sandra Gardner, Elgin Lim, Robert Leahy, Mona Loutfy, John Maxwell, James Murray, Malcolm Steinberg
What is this research about?
Gay Poz Sex (GPS) is an eight-week sexual health intervention by and for gay and bisexual men who are HIV-positive. The program is facilitated by gay HIV-positive men who take a gay-positive, sex-positive approach to understanding sexual health and getting good sex and is intended to be delivered within community-based agencies. More than half of the Gay Poz Sex team of researchers and facilitators is gay, HIV-positive men.
Gay Poz Sex uses a process called motivational enhancement counselling (motivational interviewing) to work with men around their sexual health goals. The Gay Poz Sex intervention is being formally evaluated through a clinical research trial in Toronto and Vancouver. A pilot study has already been completed with promising results. The current trial, now underway in Toronto and Vancouver, aims to recruit 180 participants.
The study hopes to provide evidence that the intervention reduced the prevalence of unprotected anal sex between the gay HIV-positive men enrolled in the study and HIV-negative partners or those of unknown serostatus, and, secondarily, that it reduces unprotected sex with other men who are also HIV-positive. Both measures are evaluated six months following the men’s participation in the program. If successful, this evidence will help support the implementation and funding of this targeted prevention program.
Visit the Gay Poz Sex website for more details.
Preliminary data from the CIHR-funded pilot study (completed in 2011) showed that the Gay Poz Sex intervention was feasible to be operated by a community-based organization and that it was acceptable and of interest to HIV-positive gay and bisexual men. In this small sample, the research team found a 32% reduction of condomless anal sex with HIV-negative partners or partners of unknown status. The intervention also appeared to have a positive impact in men’s lives (for example, men reported reduced feelings of loneliness) and participants reported high satisfaction with the program.
OHTN and REACH are providing part of the funding for this clinical trial. Funding was also provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network. A two-year grant of $157,232.42 supporting Gay Poz Sex began in 2015.