Showing off "Show Me the Love".
Last year ACG applied for a grant from the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) from their Capacity Building Fund for Community-Based Research to study a subject that has been talked about in every way, except for actually going to PHAs and ask them about their sex lives or lack of having one. The research project was called "Show Me the Love" and its purpose was to gain some understanding of the barriers to sexual intimacy among PHAs.
I've taken three OHTN surveys over the last year or two. I've listened to why they were being done but never really took it all in. I wanted be a part of the research to be included in something that was meant to help understand the needs of PHAs in order to help them have a suitable diet, shelter and the income to be able to take care of themselves and live better lives.
Back in March of this year I was hired by the OHTN to be a Peer Research Associate, I now do the surveys myself. While training to do this job I also had to learn about the ethics of doing research. I've learned how to conduct a survey that is ethically right for the participants and the survey team: you must take the results back to the participants so they know what the results were, and to understand if you found what you wanted to learn.
The time came to report the findings of "Show Me the Love".
The report was completed earlier this year by The O'Halloran Group and it was to be presented for the first time at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D. C. ACG was granted a space to showcase the findings. The next step was to utilize the internet to get the word out. The report was posted on ACG's webpage, then on to Facebook and Twitter. It went viral and we "tweeted" and "shared" it daily.
Next, Bob Leahy, editor of PositiveLite.com came to town to interview Megan and some of the other people involved in the project (See the links below.). Megan wrote two blogs about the findings that were featured on PositiveLite. Her interview with Bob Leahy is included in Part One. Other links below are for blogs Megan and I wrote last year and earlier this year about “Show Me the Love” and I believe there is still more to come.
Next it was presented at the ACG's annual general meeting in September. For me, it was one of the highlights of the evening. To see it presented in person and to see the reaction, it gave me a little extra pride that I was a part of it. As an agency we had created something that others can learn from. It was especially nice that Megan used some of my photos throughout the powerpoint, Thanks for that.
On October the 17th, we, the participants, and some of our peers were invited to a special dinner at the Babel Fish Bistro to see the results of the study. If you haven't been to one of these "Dinner and Learn" events, you really should. The food at Babel Fish is so good. They closed the place just for us and treated us........royally.
It was great to have some of our peers present, as this was the first time we were able to hear some feedback from other PHAs. One question that was asked was, "if this was a fair representation of participants, would it be the same results in more populated areas with more participants." Another question that came up online was, "if the average age was lower, would the results be the same." Hopefully our research will lead to further studies which could produce other results.
Research is something that is needed in the work we do. We did this!
As an addition to this story, Megan was able to present the findings at this year’s OHTN Research Conference on November 13th in Toronto. I was there to offer my support, Megan was a little nervous, but the reaction was very good. It brought up a couple of questions so it was a chance to put more information out to the audience. However, they only give 10 minutes to present.
It’s a bit sad that Megan has left the Positive Prevention Coordinator's job but ACG has hired a very good replacement in Olivia Kijewski. Megan still has a toe in on what we are continuing on with, which is good. I wish her much success in her new role at ACG and welcome Olivia. I hope she is kind to editing this and future blogs.
Dec. 21 2011 Show Me the Love
Jan. 10 2012 Show Me the Love - A Second Look
Sept. 25 2012 Show Me the Love Part One
Oct. 09 2012 Show Me the Love Part Two
Posted on Tue, November 20, 2012 by Chat Junkie filed under