The Canadian Association of HIV Research (CAHR) conference was held virtually from April 27 – 29, 2022. PAN staff were on hand to take in the virtual conference and to share about two of our exciting projects – Making it Work and the BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index – in the poster presentations!
Making it Work is an Indigenous-focused, community-based research project that utilizes a Realist Evaluation approach. The study is exploring why community services work well for people with lived experience of HIV, hepatitis C and challenges with mental health and substance use, with a particular focus on case management and community development programs and services using Indigenous service delivery models. This study utilizes Community-Based Research, Two-Eyed Seeing and Realist Evaluation approaches.
We have come a long way from gathering data and are working to analyze it with respect to our program theory. Our most recent update on the study was held at CAHR where we had the opportunity to present a poster of our findings and what our next steps are moving forward. We discussed the process of using our focus group findings to identify elements of our program theory that may need to be adapted or further explored and how points of tension or different perspectives from participants can help us see these areas more clearly.
Our second poster, “Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet”: exploring life stories of people living with HIV and their relationship to major strengths”, reflects on our qualitative study, People with Lived Experiences’ Strengths in the Face of Stigma, which is linked to the BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index study. The BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index a dynamic research project in British Columbia born out of a community-identified need to turn the tide against persistent HIV stigma and discrimination. Linked to the international People Living with HIV Stigma Index initiative, it is the first community-based research (CBR) study in British Columbia to document experiences of stigma and discrimination from the perspective of people living with HIV.
This qualitative study engaged 20 participants living with HIV across British Columbia and asked about experiences of programs and services and participants’ own strengths and resilience. Our poster discusses the importance of taking a strengths-based approach and how it both deepened our research process and supported participants in taking a storytelling approach to their responses. You can check out the poster on the PAN website.
We also want to acknowledge the work of our friends, allies and colleagues that was shared at CAHR! Through Dr. Mona Loutfy’s Mark Wainberg lecture, we had the pleasure of acknowledging the long and active investment Dr. Cathy Worthington (an affiliated researcher with PAN) has had in the HIV research movement in Canada.
In both the Social Sciences Oral Abstracts tracks, we heard from other teams across Canada working with the People Living with HIV Stigma Index, including our friends and partners REACH Nexus on their work with the Index and intersectionality and our friends at COCQ-SIDA about their learnings through the implementation of the People Living with HIV Stigma Index in Quebec. We encourage you to connect with these teams to learn more about their important work.
Questions? Feedback? Get in touch!
Jennifer Demchuk, Research Manager