Gay Poz Sex program begins first randomized-controlled trial (RCT)

Nov 21, 2013 by Taylor Perry, GPS Research Coordinator, Positive Living BC


As my predecessor Sarah Chown first discussed back in April, the Gay Poz Sex: Finding Your Own Way (GPS) program at Positive Living BC is currently recruiting participants for its first randomized-controlled trial which will test the efficacy of the program. Our GPS group in Toronto is already running its first RCT group – the preliminary results of which can be found here. Suffice to say, early results are positive. Participants are reporting increased social interactions, self-efficacy in sexual health risk assessment, and increased use of community supports. Most importantly, participants describe improved confidence in making healthier lifestyle choices – and are excited to refer GPS to friends.

As Sarah wrote, GPS is an eight-week program at Positive Living BC, run by and for gay and bisexual HIV-positive men. This peer-facilitated and sex-positive program is an opportunity for participants, in a safe space, to look at ways of making changes in their sex lives. It is designed to help empower participants through motivational interviewing to improve their own sexual health as well as set and accomplish their own sexual goals.

The basic outline of the RCT is as follows. Participants are randomized into two groups. The experimental group begins the program three weeks after randomization, while the control group begins 6 months after randomization. Eligibility criteria stipulate that a participant must identify as a gay or bisexual male 18 or older who is HIV positive. We randomize eligible participants into the two experimental arms once a cohort of 16 has been assembled by our peer facilitators. Our goal is to recruit 72 participants in Vancouver.

Participants in the experimental group complete a series of 4 computer-based questionnaires (at baseline, post-program, and at 3- and 6-month follow-up) in addition to a qualitative interview conducted by the study coordinator at the 6-month follow-up visit. Control group study subjects will complete an extra two questionnaires at the 3- and 6-month points during the waiting period.

We are currently recruiting participants who are committed to attending all eight sessions. Our group has user profiles on dating and hookup sites Bareback Realtime (BBRT) and Squirt to allow users to contact us in a safe and confidential manner. Health care and service providers are encouraged to refer clients whom they feel may benefit from this program.

The peer facilitators, Michael Crate and Jonathan Postnikoff, are the first point of contact, and can be reached by email ([email protected])or by cell at 604-240-7205. We encourage those interested to text the number. For promotional materials to display in your facility, please contact research coordinator Taylor Perry.

More information on the program is available on the Gay Poz Sex website.