Junior Investigator Development Award Recipient
Nathan Lachowsky is working to understand how gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) use the Internet to seek sexual, social and romantic partners, to build support and information networks and to seek health information. His research aims to inform the outreach services of public health, AIDS service organization and other community-based agencies. Nathan has a particular interest in the needs of MSM living in rural and remote communities and of Two-Spirit Indigenous men.
Why OHTN is supporting the development of this investigator:
MSM are a priority population for prevention and support efforts in Ontario. The widespread use of online resources by this community makes it an appropriate focus of research, as web-based campaigns have already proven to be effective outreach tools. Research that improves an organization’s ability to reach hard-to-reach men with online tools could have a powerful positive effect.
- The Cruising Counts Study, funded by the OHTN, conducted an online questionnaire with nearly 2000 MSM regarding their experience of online outreach and their use of website and apps for social, sexual, and health purposes, as well as over 20 interviews with online outreach providers about the strengths, challenges, and opportunities for these services.
- The #iCruise Study, which is funded by the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR), will recruit younger men who have sex with men to investigate how the use of Internet and mobile-apps for sociosexual purposes affects men’s sexual health and HIV risk perceptions and practices. It will consider the impact of different real world experiences (urban/rural, out about sexuality/not, HIV positive/negative) as well as the role of psychosocial and syndemic factors on sexual health of young MSM in the context of the online experience. It will explore how online social networks are constructed and the opportunities for health promotion.
- The “Real Needs” Study conducted an online questionnaire and in-person interviews with MSM in Muskoka & Simcoe County to understand more about how men access health services and support around their sexual health and well-being. Working with local AIDS service organizations, this research sought to understand the services that men desired in their home communities and how they were using services both in the region, and through travel into the Greater Toronto Area. Preliminary findings suggested that over half of the men surveyed were not out to their healthcare provider, 40% had left the region to access primary health care in the Greater Toronto Area, and 30% had never been tested for HIV.
Work Environment and Collaborations:
Nathan Lachowsky is completing his post-doctoral work with David Brennan, an OHTN Applied HIV Research Chair and his CRUISElab at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. He also works at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS reflecting the growing collaboration amongst researchers interested in HIV prevention, care, and support for gay, bisexual and other MSM. He is part of the Engage Team Grant funded by CIHR, CANFAR, and the OHTN and led by Trevor Hart and other gay men’s health investigators from across Canada. Nathan continues to work closely with other investigators in Ontario and is co-principal investigator with Jan Yorke and the Gilbert Centre (formerly AIDS Committee of Simcoe County) on the “Real Needs” project. As a past participant in the University Without Walls program, he continues to contribute to this learning initiative.
Nathan Lachowsky holds an OHTN Junior Investigator Development Award ($90,000, 2014-16). He is also co-principal investigator with Jan Yorke and Terry Trussler on the ongoing grant, Grounding prevention practice in the real needs and interests of rural and urban MSM ($30,393, 2013-15).
Video Lectures and Interviews
- Cruising Counts Survey – Nathan Lachowsky, Oct 30, 2015