Volume 95, Issue 50
Thursday, November 29, 2001
Study targets AIDS infection
Broad research includes universities
By Jessica Leeder
Western students and Londoners will soon have an opportunity to participate in a new study of the sexual habits and health gay and bisexual men.
The Ontario Men's Survey, administered by the University of Toronto's HIV social, behavioural and epidemiological studies unit, will target the behaviour of gay and bisexual men in 13 cities across Ontario.
"In Canada, the vast proportion of money put towards AIDS research has gone to clinical trials and basic science research," said Ted Myers, the U of T professor leading the study. "We have forgotten that we haven't got a cure for AIDS and we need to know more about prevention and how prevention works."
Myers said the study is an effort to understand factors driving the increased spread of AIDS and how the trend can be reversed.
"We're interested in looking at such things as condom use and some of the issues men have with condoms, condom failure, HIV testing and the extent to which men are testing and knowing the current rates of infection," he said.
"We will be recruiting men through community groups, service agencies, universities and commercial venues," he said, noting each community will have co-ordinators responsible for recruiting volunteers to help administer the questionnaires.
Rob Lidstone, secretary of the Queers of Western Ontario club and a volunteer at the AIDS Committee of London will help administer the survey in London.
"There has been a perception developed among people that AIDS is treatable," Lidstone said. "We have to illustrate to people that it is still really essential that they use condoms, practice safer sex and do it properly."
Paul Johnson, an AIDS educator with the AIDS Committee of London said his role is to help facilitate the project.
"Infection in this target group has been documented and continues to rise," he said, adding he thinks people have not been practicing safer sex, but engaging in a high amount of risky behaviour.
Myers said the study will be venue-based, meaning surveyors will go to various locations to interview candidates rather than having candidates come to university campuses.
Copyright © The Gazette 2001