Parent‑Child Communication on Sexual Health and HIV

Experiences of Black Ontarians and Nova Scotians

Investigators: C. George, and J. Gahagan (Co-Principals)

The prevalence of HIV in Canada is increasing among people from countries where HIV is endemic, with the main risk factor being unprotected sex [1, 6]. While Canadian HIV surveillance is not reported by age and ethnicity, anecdotal evidence indicates that HIV is important for African Canadians. Although parents of all backgrounds face barriers in addressing issues related to sexuality and HIV, Black families in Canada, many of whom are immigrants, are further challenged in addressing these issues, as their cultural approaches to sexuality are often not readily reconciled with Canadian approaches and values. Black service providers in Atlantic Canada must also grapple with similar issues and with no guidelines to help them. In addition to the growing immigrant community in Halifax, Black social issues are often underscored by long-standing segregation. The purpose of this project is to convene academic and community partners in the design and development of effective models of communication to assist parents and professionals in meeting the sexual development needs of African Canadian youth in general, and as part of an HIV risk reduction strategy. We are proposing a multi-step research program. In this first step (the present application) we will focus on the feasibility of our recruitment strategy, instruments and tools. Further, we will be employing a community based research approach (which puts community at the center of the research process in planning the research and dissemination of the results), which can be time and labour intensive and involves the development of trust and meaningful partnership with community partners. This project will involve establishing a community advisory committee (CAC), conducting key informant interviews, and a focus group with Black youths. The CAC will advise the research team on all aspects of the project including study design, recruitment, interpretation of findings, dissemination, and follow-up initiatives.

Funding provided by the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research for $25,000 (June 2010 - Sept 2011).