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 aims 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 and 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., transmen) 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 (Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal), allowing researchers to evaluate current HIV and STI prevention strategies and to identify gaps in care and the shortcomings of current programming.
Engage can be broken down into four main components:
Engage is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN), and the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR).