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Dr. David Brennan

Online Sexual Health Outreach for Gay and Bisexual Men: Providers’ Perspectives

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“We know from some recent research that gay men tend to not be out to their doctors, especially outside of urban areas. Is that because gay men are bad? Is that because the doctors are bad, or is it that the system isn’t really looking at how do we make sure that people feel comfortable and safe in having those conversations, because it does make a difference if you’re a gay man today in terms of your relationship to HIV or other sexual health issues and including mental health and substance abuse issues as well. . . Having social workers think about that. Having social workers think about how do we adapt to online technologies. . . if we are only thinking about, okay, come in and see me in my office. . . that’s highly problematic because. . . younger people, we want to go where they are at, and if that’s online, we as social workers and practitioners really need to be there.”

Dr. David Brennan

In this podcast, Dr. David Brennan talks about his work in the development and evaluation of online outreach to address issues of gay and bisexual men’s health. To highlight this work, Dr. Brennan describes CRUISElab, a research lab focused on gay and bisexual men’s health. He also talks about the “Cruising Counts” study, which has been essential in developing new guidelines for online health outreach to gay men in Ontario.

Dr. David J. Brennan is an associate professor in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work (University of Toronto), Ontario Applied HIV Research Chair in Gay and Bisexual Men’s Health, and the Director of CRUISElab. Dr. Brennan’s research, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Ontario HIV Treatment Network, and the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CanFAR), has examined the ways in which gay and bisexual men who are marginalized by gender identity, race, age, and HIV status access health and social service information online to maximize health and wellness. He has examined the intersection of racism and body image among ethnoracialized gay men, aging, and HIV, resilience among two-spirit gay and bisexual men who are HIV-positive. David has consulted with UNAIDS on how web apps may be useful for gay men in lower income countries. His Cruising Counts study was essential in developing new guidelines for online outreach to gay men in Ontario. David worked for 15 years on the frontlines of HIV work in Boston as the social work and bereavement coordinator for the first federally certified AIDS hospice in the U.S. and the associate director of clinical services at AIDS Action Committee in Boston.

Interviewer: Steven Halady, PhD

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