About Engage

Focusing on gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM), the Engage Cohort Study investigates trends in the use of ARV-based HIV prevention and the occurrence of HIV and other sexually transmitted and bloodborne infections. Originally planned to take place over a shorter time period, this cohort was extended until 2023 and will follow participants from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The study’s main aims are to:

  1. measure trends in and determinants of: the use of antiretroviral (ARV)-based HIV prevention, psychosocial-behavioural factors (e.g., experiences of discrimination, substance use, access to prevention and care services, etc.), condom-use, bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and HIV
  2. examine the relationships between ARV-based HIV prevention and various sexual health outcomes (e.g., occurrence of STIs). Also, because some groups of gbMSM (e.g., trans men) may have unique experiences of ARV-based HIV prevention, interviews will be done in each city to better understand their realities.

The collected data will also be compared between cities (Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver). This will allow researchers to evaluate current HIV and STI prevention strategies and their health outcomes, as well as to identify gaps in care and the shortcomings of current programming.

In addition, Engage aims to increase HIV- and sexual health-related research capacity for gbMSM in Canada by offering studentship and training opportunities to academic researchers and community investigators. Each study city (Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver) will also have an actively involved community engagement committee whose function is to galvanize interest and participation in research among communities of gbMSM.

Engage is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN), the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR), Health Canada, the CIHR Canadian HIV/AIDS Trials Network (CTN), the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux du Québec.