While Canada has made progress in addressing HIV and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI) in the last three decades, rates of these preventable infections continue to increase. In 2017, a total of 2,402 new cases of HIV were reported in Canada, equal to seven Canadians being diagnosed every day, with approximately 50% being among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
Today, ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced a significant investment to support community-based initiatives to prevent infections among gay, bisexual, transgender, Two-Spirit and queer (GBT2Q) men in Canada.
Through the HIV and Hepatitis C Community Action Fund, the Government of Canada is providing $7.1 million over five years to the Advance Community Alliance—a pan-Canadian community alliance for GBT2Q men's health—to implement innovative approaches to improve access to STBBI prevention, testing and treatment for this population. The interventions will include new models for testing, along with interventions to increase access to services, and to promote new effective HIV prevention options.
The Advance Community Alliance includes the following community-based organizations:
- MAX Ottawa;
- AIDS Committee of Toronto;
- Health Initiative for Men Society (Vancouver);
- Community-Based Research Centre for Gay Men's Health (Vancouver); and
- REZO (Montreal).
"New knowledge and innovations in prevention, testing and treatment provide even more tools to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections. This significant investment will help enhance access to these tools, and enable community-led prevention efforts among gay, bisexual, transgender, Two-Spirit and queer men across Canada."
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health
"Though preventable and treatable, sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs) are serious and continue to pose a public health risk for Canadians. These infections disproportionately impact Canadians who also experience health inequities, including gay, bisexual, transgender, Two-Spirit and queer men. Investing in community-led interventions are critical if we are to slow the spread of STBBIs in Canada."
Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada
"I applaud the work of the Advance Community Alliance, an invaluable resource devoted to equitable and effective access to health services. The Government's commitment to doing more for those living with sexually transmitted infections along with evidence-based, community-led initiatives are key to breaking down stigma and reducing the spread of HIV."
Randy Boissonnault, M.P.
Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 issues
"Gay, bisexual, trans, Two-Spirit, and queer men in Canada remain heavily impacted by HIV and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections, as well as mental health issues including depression, problematic substance use and suicide. Developing evidence-based, community-led interventions with stakeholders across the health care system is critical to reducing barriers to essential services for our communities, including HIV testing and treatment, pre-exposure prophylaxis and mental health programs."
Advance Community Alliance Director
- The Public Health Agency of Canada is investing $7.1 million to support this initiative. This is part of the Agency's investment of $132 million over five years through the Community Action Fund. This funding will support community-based initiatives that have the potential to make the greatest impact in slowing the spread of STBBI, including HIV and hepatitis C.
- Gay and bisexual men, Indigenous peoples, people who use or inject drugs, and people living in or recently released from correctional facilities are some of the groups most affected by HIV and other STBBI. The Community Action Fund aims to reduce new infections among these at-risk populations.