Priority Populations



The OHTN has conducted consultations with representatives of priority populations to identify urgent, unmet needs that could be addressed through research. These research priorities are listed below. Within this list, OHTN may specific areas that will be priorities for particular funding competitions.

Gay Men and Other MSM, including gay, bi, and queer trans men, youth and newcomers:

OHTN will accept proposals that seek to:

  1. develop, adapt, implement, evaluate, and/or scale up sustainable HIV-related interventions;
  2. conduct research on vulnerable sub-populations and neglected contexts (e.g. suburban/rural)
  3. evaluate and/or answer questions related to current services, programs, or interventions for gay men and other MSM
    » May involve development of future research projects that will seek to address identified gaps

African, Caribbean and Black Women and Men, including Youth:

OHTN will accept proposals that seek to:

  1. identify best practices in HIV prevention programming for youth and adults
  2. assess and measure effectiveness of existing HIV-related interventions specific to program development/delivery, perceptions of individual and community risk, and roles of culture
  3. apply a life span-based approach to research on clinical care for African, Caribbean and Black people living with HIV including:
    » ACB youth transitioning to adult care (ageing with HIV)
    » issues related to treatment, care and disclosure
    » pregnancy planning and motherhood
  4. examine impacts of policy changes to the Immigration Act, Mental Health Act, Criminalization of Non-Disclosure, and/or Interim Federal Health Benefits on service access for ACB people living with HIV
  5. understand HIV testing practices including decision-making processes, couples and provider-initiated testing or the effect of stigma and culture on testing and counseling approaches
  6. explore social epidemiological phenomenon related to youth, newcomers, serodiscordant couples and those using substances
  7. examine barriers to ACB research including mobilizing ACB communities/researchers who are not usually engaged, and nurturing up-and-coming ACB researchers
  8. address stigma and the intersections of violence and discrimination
  9. examine clinical issues including diagnosis, adherence, continuity of care, natural history, co-infections and immune activation

Aboriginal men and women, including youth:

OHTN will accept proposals that seek to:

  1. Develop, adapt, implement, evaluate, and/or scale up sustainable, and culturally appropriate, HIV-related interventions addressing:
    » Education-based programs
    » Youth leadership
    » HIV prevention, including access to testing (on-reserve)
    » Domestic violence
    » Different groups (ie. First Nations, Inuit or Metis) and specific life stages (ie. youth vs. mid-30s)
  2. Conduct programs or interventions to improve research capacities among Aboriginal Peoples, including:
    » Arts-based and non-traditional approaches
    » Nation-specific research, particularly for Inuit and Metis communities
    » Peer-based models
    » Indigenous knowledge and associated methods
  3. Evaluate and/or answer questions related to current services, programs, or interventions for women, IDU, 2-spirit men, youth, and Aboriginal Peoples living in rural settings, on-reserve and/or correctional facilities focusing on:
    » Stigma, discrimination and/or racism
    » Mental health issues including stress, depression, suicide, PTSD etc.

Men and Women who use Drugs

OHTN will accept proposals that seek to:

  1. evaluate one or compare 2 or more:
    » peer-based models of HIV-related outreach, treatment, support, prevention, capacity-building, and training
    » interventions or programs aimed at youth, women, sex-workers, prisoners and/or older adults
    » interventions focused on testing, access and/or adherence to HIV and/or HCV treatments
    » interventions addressing housing, income support and occupation, and other social determinants of health
  2. adapt or develop, implement and evaluate interventions (including pilots) or programs aimed at:
    » improving access and adherence to HIV and/or HCV treatment for drug users
    » addressing complex health issues for people who smoke crack
    » reducing stigma (and enhancing knowledge) of service and healthcare providers, and the general public, for people who use drugs and may be infected with HIV and/or HCV
    » enhancing access to, and education about, harm reduction materials (including HIV/HCV risk), and services (health-related and/or social) for all people who use drugs, including but not limited to, youth, ethnic minorities, women, sex-workers, prisoners and/or older people who use drugs
  3. address gaps and barriers related to harm reduction in Ontario
    » outreach in rural areas
    » alternatives to injecting as a core harm reduction practice
    » Aboriginal harm reduction education
    » Non-traditional partnerships (i.e., law enforcement, domestic violence shelters and other community groups not involved in harm reduction work)

Women, including transwomen, who are at risk (e.g., have unprotected sex or share drug equipment with people from the populations listed above):

OHTN will accept proposals that seek to:

  1. 1. develop, implement and evaluate public and targeted education campaigns for women focusing on:
    » testing for HIV
    » describing risks
    » providing accurate information, and directing women to reputable sources of information
    » reducing stigma
  2. adapt or develop, implement and evaluate pilot interventions or programs aimed at:
    » providing women with access to appropriate healthcare services, especially in rural settings
    » providing women with access to resources and harm reduction supplies (such as condoms) in rural settings
    » delivering innovative strategies for education and support

People Living with HIV/AIDS

There is also an overarching category that addresses the broad health and social needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. OHTN will accept proposals that:

  1. 1. conduct research on or evaluate: » peer-based leadership and education models, including HIV prevention and youth sexual health » impacts of domestic violence on women
    » mental health interventions
    » interventions for prisoners, including harm reduction approaches and confidential care
    » interventions focused on testing, adherence and treatment
    » approaches to skills development and training
  2. adapt, develop or implement interventions or programs aimed at:
    » evaluating the impacts and/or benefits of complementary and alternative therapies
    » improving service delivery for marginalized groups, including those from a strength-based approach
    » assessing the impacts of criminalization
    » improving self-care, self-esteem and confidence
    » addressing poz prevention and disclosure practices for PHAs, including those newly diagnosed
  3. address barriers related to service access based on gender, sexual orientation, race and/or newcomer status
Photo credit: Harald Hoyer