It’s time to prioritize GBT2Q men’s health in Canada. It’s time to Advance.
In Canada, gay, bisexual, queer, and other men who have sex with men (cis or trans) and Two-Spirit people (GBT2Q) remain disproportionately impacted by HIV and other sexually transmitted blood-borne infections (STBBIs). In 2016, GBT2Q men represented 53% of all new HIV infections in Canada – a stable trend that continues despite the availability of highly effective tools for preventing HIV such as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable).
Increasing the access and use of effective HIV/STBBI prevention, testing, and treatment services among GBT2Q communities will be a critical factor in Canada’s fight against HIV and its ability to achieve the UNAIDS’ global targets of 90-90-90 by 2020. Meeting the challenge involves addressing the significant gaps in services across the country, which are made worse by barriers to care frequently experienced by GBT2Q communities including the fear of stigma, discrimination, and prejudice due to being a sexual and/or gender minority.
Real progress in addressing HIV and other sexually transmitted blood-borne infections (STBBIs) requires concrete changes in health policy and practice that increases the accessibility of prevention tools and prioritizes communities most affected, including GBT2Q men. Advance, led by a coalition of leading community-based organizations dedicated to GBT2Q health and wellness in Canada, represents a new opportunity to mobilize such change through coordinated partnerships with governments, communities, and the health system.
Increase GBT2Q access to health services for HIV/STBBIs, mental health, and related needs including:
Early and effective HIV treatment
Harm reduction programs and equitable access to Hepatitis C treatment
Vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B, and HPV (human papilloma virus)
Peer and professional counselling
Increase GBT2Q use of health services for HIV/STBBIs, mental health, and related needs through:
Campaigns that increase community awareness of prevention knowledge, tools and services
Partnerships with health care providers, researchers, and officials to improve understanding and responses to GBT2Q health needs
Programs to train and support GBT2Q leaders to address community health priorities