PROUD (Participatory Research in Ottawa, Understanding Drugs)

Research Team: Claire Kendall (co-Principal Investigator), Zack Marshall (co-Principal Investigator), with the PROUD Peer Research and Community Advisory Board. (OHTN Applied Research Chair Mark Tyndall was the initial principal investigator on this project.)

Research Website:

What is this research about?

PROUD, Participatory Research in Ottawa, Understanding Drugs, aims to understand the overall health and risk of HIV infection of people who use illicit drugs. The project was developed in partnership with current and former drug users and their allies.

This community-based research project enrolled 858 participants from March 2013 to January 2014. All participants had reported using injection drugs or smoking crack-cocaine in the past 12 months and were contacted by peer research associates through a specific, street-based recruitment strategy. Each participant completed a comprehensive questionnaire and were offered HIV Point-of-Care testing. Many participants also agreed to have their survey linked to anonymized health records about the use of provincial health services housed by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). This allows ongoing follow-up on the health outcomes of consenting participants.


The study collected information about drug use practices, about housing and access to health services, about HIV and HCV infections and about the interest and willingness of participants to participate in supervised injection services or other relevant health services. It also inquired into the impact of policing and criminalization on participant’s lives. Key findings will be used to advocate for new services in Ottawa, including supervised injection services. (Seventy-five percent of PROUD participants who reported injecting drugs in the previous 12 months would be willing to use a supervised injection site, as published in the Harm Reduction Journal.)

Community reporting of the study’s findings.

OHTN Support:

This project was partially supported by an Applied HIV Research Chair award to Mark Tyndall from 2013-2014, and by bridge funding to the PROUD study team led by Claire Kendal and Zack Marshall in 2015-17.

Ongoing Research:

Claire Kendall continues to evaluate data from the PROUD study records linkage with ICES records to trace health outcomes for this population and to understand the factors that put people at risk of losing contact with care providers or of negative health outcomes.

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