The Gay Men’s Sexual Health (GMSH) Department is focused on the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) for gay, bisexual, trans, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM), as well as the development of healthy, vibrant communities free from stigma. These goals are achieved through a combination of outreach, support, education and community development initiatives. Please see below for more information on the GMSH Department and its various initiatives.
#GetGarded against genital warts and cancer-causing strains of HPV with Gardasil
HPV, which stands for the Human Papillomavirus, is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in Ontario. Seventy per cent of the adult population will have had at least one HPV infection during their lifetime. Most people who have a HPV infection do not know they are infected. Some strains of HPV can cause visible genital warts. Genital warts usually appear as flesh-coloured growths or bumps. Other strains of HPV can cause penile, anal and vaginal cancers.
There is a vaccine called Gardasil, which prevents some strains of HPV most commonly associated with genital warts and some cancers. This vaccine has recently been made publicly funded and available in Ontario for gay, bisexual & other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) under the age of 27, including trans men. If you aren’t eligible for the publicly funded Gardasil, we encourage you to speak with your health care provider about your risk for HPV. If you do not have access to an health care provider, please contact us at ACCKWA to explore your options.
Region of Waterloo Public Health’s regular sexual health clinics (including ACCKWA’s clinic, excluding youth clinics) can provide you with HPV vaccinations, provided you meet the above criteria. For more information on those clinics, please visit www.acckwa.com/testing. #GetGarded
Things to also consider:
- Gardasil 9 offers additional protection against more strains of HPV. It is not part of the publicly funded program, but may be accessed through your health care provider for a fee. Some insurance plans may cover the cost
Our outreach has three main facets:
Online outreach – The GMSH staff & volunteers are pleased to offer online outreach on all of your favourite platforms– Grindr, Growlr, Scruff, Jack’d, Hornet, Mister, Squirt & Craigslist! Just look for our profiles/posts and say hello! You can usually find us online on Thursdays between 3-6 p.m.
Bar outreach – Come check out our booths and condom dispensers at different venues in the tri-cities. Our campaign will be there to greet you!
Park outreach – Hooking up in a park? ACCKWA’s got you covered across the region.
Support & Education:
- Gay Men’s HIV+ Support and Social Group – Are you a poz guy into other guys in the region? Come connect with other men over coffee, discussions, movies, bowling and more!
- Education booths at community events – Look for us at special events such as Rainbow Reels, Tri-pride, drag shows, SPECTRUM & Plan B
- Fun & informative workshops – From HIV basics to the legal complexities of HIV disclosure, we can deliver workshops relating to issues affecting gay, bi, and other men who have sex with men as they relate to HIV and other STIs.
Looking for a positive change in your sex life? Want healthier relationships? Come chat with us about the sex you want and make it happen! Mï Talk is a project supporting gay, bisexual, trans and other men who have sex with men to have better sex lives, sexual relationships and sexual health!
Mï Talk is a 4-week one-on-one program. Through discussions and exercises with one of our specifically trained staff/volunteers, you will have a chance to meaningfully and freely talk about and reflect on your sex life, your sexual relationships, and your sexual health – whatever they mean to you! By the end of the 4th session, you will be able to identify some actions to achieve the sex you want!
Please contact Colin or Victor (Contact info below) for more information , or to book an information session!
You can learn more about the program at: Mï Talk FAQs
The Sex You Want
The Sex You Want (TSYW) is a new, ongoing campaign of ACCKWA’s Gay Men’s Sexual Health Department, in collaboration with Ontario’s Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance. TSYW features animated videos, comic strips, and info-graphics that reflect the complex and diverse experiences of gay men grounded in science and a progressive attitude towards sex and pleasure. Check it out at www.thesexyouwant.ca!
PEP and PrEP:
PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) has been identified as an effective tool of HIV prevention if taken within 72 hours of a high risk exposure. To learn more, visit: www.thesexyouwant.ca/pep/
PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is another option for HIV prevention that can be taken before a potential HIV exposure. You can learn more by visiting: www.thesexyouwant.ca/prep
The OurAgenda campaign examines the effects mental health has on the sexual behaviour of gay men and how their mental health can alter decision making surrounding sexual health, you can learn more by visiting:
If you are a service provider and are interested in learning more about this program and how this can be applied for professional development purposes, feel free to contact us.
Have you heard? The OutLook Study has finished seeking input from LGBTQ folks on their experiences in Waterloo Region though our online survey, but we are still seeking participants for future interviews and/or focus groups. If you would like to know more please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like to thank everyone who filled out the survey and those who helped us give voice to those who are usually silenced. We recognize the importance of these data, so we will update www.outlookstudy.ca with the results as they become available.
Volunteer Opportunities and Peer Programs:
Do you enjoy meeting new people? Teaching new things to others? Want to make a difference in your community? Come volunteer with us!
Peers are defined by the GMSH Department as those who self-identify as members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and/or Queer community, including those living with and without HIV. Peer opportunities for this program include:
- Condom Pack Stuffing Parties – roughly once a month on a Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m., volunteers assemble condom/lube packs for the GMSH Department’s various programs. There is no previous training or experience required for these positions, though volunteers need to be able to make it to our office and be able to utilize fine motor skills for up to three hours. Volunteers for these positions do not need to identify as peers to qualify.
- Park Outreach – From May to October, peers work in pairs to hang kits containing condoms, lube, testing information, and counselling referral information in wooded areas around the region where GBMSM cruise for sex, as well as clean up any waste that is found. While some direct contact with cruisers and/or members of the public is involved, this outreach work is largely passive. Peers in this program need to be able to go through ACCKWA’s general training as well as our specific park outreach training. They must also be able to navigate through heavily wooded areas in often unpleasant conditions.
- Bar/Event Outreach – All year long, the GMSH Department makes appearances at various events and festivals where GBMSM are likely to attend in large numbers. This includes, but is not limited to, pride events, LGBTQ student events, LGBTQ campgrounds, and events that are not explicitly LGBTQ specific. Often, this form of outreach involves interacting with the public through a sexual health quiz game focused on GBMSM sexual health and history. Peers in this program need to go through ACCKWA’s general training, bar outreach training, familiarize themselves with the various resources we distribute, and demonstrate a general aptitude for up-to-date gay men’s sexual health knowledge.
- Online Outreach – Every week, the GMSH Department performs online outreach to GBMSM in a variety of online platforms, from Craigslist to Grindr to Squirt and more. Peers assist with this program by “checking out” our tablet and performing outreach for an additional three hours per week on their own, on a rotating basis. Peers in this program must attend ACCKWA’s general volunteer training, followed by an extensive multi-stage online outreach training process that involves a powerpoint presentation, case studies, a mock outreach session with live questions, and several supervised in-house trial sessions. To qualify for this program, prospective peers must demonstrate an extensive knowledge of up-to-date gay men’s sexual health knowledge, as well as knowledge of local community resources/events/spaces for appropriate referrals. They must also be comfortable working with tablets and multiple apps in a fast-paced environment, where they may be required to triage multiple conversations and requests for information at once.
If you are interested in volunteering with our program, please visit ACCKWA’s volunteer page.
Do you have a specific question about HIV, STIs, hooking up, coming out, volunteering, or anything else that relates to our program? Send us an e-mail or give us a call!
Gay Men’s Sexual Health Coordinator
Phone: 519-570-3687 ext. 314
Gay Men’s Sexual Health Worker
Phone: 519-570-3687 ext. 312