HEALTH LITERACY, SEXUAL HEALTH, AND GAY MEN Current perspectives: Report from a meeting of researchers, policy-makers, service providers and community members funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Health literacy is the “ability to access, understand, evaluate and communicate information as a way to promote, maintain and improve health in a variety of settings across the life-course.” For gay men health literacy skills are critical to sexual health, particularly today given the increasing complexity of HIV risk and prevention information, and wide variety of means through which it is available (especially online). Gay men have been - and continue to be - active creators of practical knowledge by incorporating emerging scientific information into prevention strategies, and many current health promotion efforts for gay men are focused on aspects of health literacy. However, a robust health literacy approach includes focusing not just on gay men as users of information, but also the providers of information (e.g., service providers, health agencies, other sectors), within a broader consideration of social, structural or system factors affecting user-provider relationships. This report describes the findings from a planning meeting held October 29-31, 2014 in conjunction with the 10th Annual BC Gay Men’s Health Summit, which brought together researchers, service providers, policy-makers and knowledge users to discuss and describe perspectives of health literacy and its relevance to gay men’s sexual health and HIV prevention, in order to establish a foundation for future research on this topic.