Forward: Population-specific HIV/AIDS status report: Gay, bisexual, two-spirit and other men who have sex with men

Foreword

The Public Health Agency of Canada, with the support of its many partners, is pleased to release this status report as part of a series of reportsFootnote 1 intended to summarize current knowledge about the impact of HIV/AIDS among key populations in Canada. Communities, governments, public health practitioners, non-governmental organizations, researchers and others are encouraged to use this report to inform the future direction of HIV/AIDS policy, programming and research to positively affect the health and well-being of gay, bisexual, two-spirit and other men who have sex with men.

This series of status reports was initiated to support the actions set out in The Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada,Footnote 2 the Government of Canada's framework for investments in HIV/AIDS, and to provide a comprehensive evidence base for other partners and stakeholders involved in the Canadian response to the epidemic. Launched in 2005, the Federal Initiative identifies a need for more effective interventions and improved HIV/AIDS prevention, research, diagnosis, care, treatment and support initiatives for specific populations at risk of, or affected by, HIV and AIDS. These populations include people from countries where HIV is endemic, gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who use injection drugs, Aboriginal Peoples, people in prisons, youth at risk, women and people living with HIV/AIDS.

These reports use a determinants of health approach to examine vulnerability to, and resilience against, HIV infection. Determinants of health are the range of social, economic, environmental and personal factors that influence the health status of individuals and populations. They contribute to vulnerability for HIV infection and continue to affect the health and quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS. This series of reports supports the Agency's efforts to identify and address health disparities and influence the determinants of health. Footnote 1

Gay, bisexual, two-spirit and other men who have sex with men continue to be the population most affected by HIV and AIDS in Canada. This is the first time the Public Health Agency of Canada has attempted to present HIV/AIDS-related information relevant to this population in a comprehensive manner. The development of this status report was guided by a national working group with expertise in research, epidemiology, community development, policy and program development, and lived experience. The working group's input and advice has ensured that the report presents the most current, relevant and innovative research and responses that exist in Canada today.

This report provides a detailed overview of key issues affecting gay, bisexual, two-spirit and other men who have sex with men in Canada. As is the case in any work of this nature, limitations were encountered in the data collection, analysis and reporting phases. The Agency welcomes comments on the report to assist with the development of future population-specific HIV/AIDS status reports.

Despite major advances in testing and treatment, as well as the development of a robust domestic and global response over the last 30 years, HIV/AIDS continues to be a major public health challenge that requires a concerted, collaborative response. An understanding of the underlying factors and conditions that affect the vulnerability and resilience of gay, bisexual, two-spirit and other men who have sex with men is key to structuring an effective response to HIV and AIDS. It is with this objective in mind that this report was prepared.

Reference

[1] Public Health Agency of Canada. The Public Health Agency of Canada - Strategic Plan: 2007 - 2012, Information, Knowledge, Action. Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada; 2007.


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