The Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment (CAAT)’s innovative action research study: “Community Champions HIV/AIDS Advocates Mobilization Project
(also known as “CHAMP”) has just completed the recruitment phase of participants for participating in the training interventions of the project.  We are currently conducting training activities of the last two groups of participants for the project which will be completed by the middle of June.

The response to our project has been overwhelming, despite the intensive time commitment that our program requires of the participants, we have many interested community leaders and activists who were interested. Of the over 200 individuals interested in participating, only just over 60 randomly selected participants will be able to complete the training. However, once the training phase of the study is completed, we are hopeful and confident that our graduating participants will begin to organize many exciting knowledge translation activities that will provide even more exciting opportunities for networking and collaboration amongst the many sectors of the communities we try to engage and mobilize.  Stay tuned for more news for our upcoming activities.

About CHAMP:
The CHAMP study was developed in response to growing concerns about lack of effective strategies to address HIV prevention and care needs amongst ethno-racial communities in Canada.

According to a 2006 report on HIV/AIDS in Ontario by Ministry of Health and Long term care, over 40% of people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) from endemic countries contracted HIV after their arrival in Canada. Also, since 2005, immigrants and refugees from ethno-racial communities have comprised close to 20% of new HIV infections in Canada, while representing less than 1% of the total population1. In Ontario, they represent 18% of the cases while comprising 3.5% of the province’s population2. In addition, a previous study by CAAT has found that persistent high level of HIV stigma and the lack of visible HIV community leaders amongst ethno-racial communities are the critical barriers that undermine effective HIV prevention education and support strategies for people living with HIV/AIDS in those communities.

To address these needs, the CHAMP study will engage both people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) and non-PHA leaders from different sectors (faith, media, social justice, settlement, health etc.) within 3 communities (Asian, Black and Latino) who are enthusiastic about community empowerment and are ready to become community leaders and HIV champions to address stigma, support HIV prevention efforts and contribute to community capacity building initiatives. The project will involve participants through trainings, surveys, focus groups, cross sector collaborations and dialogues as well as knowledge transfer forums to evaluate the effectiveness of two innovative training programs aiming to reduce HIV stigma and mobilize community leadership to champion HIV/AIDS related issues in Ontario.

Participants will be recruited to attend one or two training interventions – Social Justice Capacity Building (SJCB) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT). SJCB combines health promotion and anti-oppressive strategies to build health literacy and evidence-based advocacy skills. ACT combines mindfulness and behavioural change strategies to increase flexibility in dealing with different ideas and stressors. Each intervention training will be about 12 hours in total to be held over 3-4 sessions between April 2012 and May 2013.

Participants are expected to learn valuable skills that are transferable to many other social and health issues, and provide them with useful tools to be more engaged as champions on HIV issues in their respective communities. The study is funded by Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), and has research team members from Africans in Partnerships Against AIDS, Alliance for South Asians AIDS Prevention, Asian Community AIDS Services, Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention, Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples, Ontario HIV Treatment Network, Regent Park Community Health Centre, Ryerson University, University Health Network and University of Windsor.

For more Information:

Henry Luyombya – Phone: (416) 642.6486 ext. 2265 or email:  hluyombya@ohtn.on.ca

For more information on CAAT and our previous research studies, visit www.hivimmigration.ca

 

  1. Public Health Agency of Canada. (2006) HIV/AIDS Epi Updates, August 2006, Surveillance and Risk Assessment Division, Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, Public Health Agency of Canada www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/epiu-aepi/epi-06/pdf/epi06_e.pd
  2. Remis, R.S., Swantee, C. & Liu, J., et al. (2006) Report on HIV/AIDS in Ontario 2004. Toronto: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care www.phs.utoronto.ca/ohemu/doc/phero2004_report.pdf