The Vanguardian, Issue #2: April 1999
The Vanguard Project has lowered its age criteria to 15, having received approval to do so from the Ethics Committee at St. Paul's Hospital. While the study criteria originally included only men between the ages of 18 and 30, new participants may now be as young as 15. This makes the Vanguard Project the only study of its kind in Canada to examine the sexual behaviours, risk factors and HIV rates of queer youth.
If you know any young men who are gay or bisexual or who have sex with men, please have them contact the study coordinator or research nurse to find out more about participating in the Vanguard Project.
Funding for the Vanguard Project has been renewed for another year, beginning April 1, 1999. Funded by a grant from Health Canada's National Health Research & Development Program (NHRDP), the Vanguard Project originally received three years of funding, which began in early 1995. In the fall of 1999 we will be applying to the NHRDP for funding to continue the study beyond March, 2000.
The Vancouver/Richmond Health Board has changed its criteria for providing the hepatitis A vaccine free of charge. In late 1997 the BC Ministry of Health agreed to fund free hep A vaccinations for all gay and bisexual men in Vancouver in response to an outbreak of the disease. With the outbreak under control and supplies of the free vaccine running low, the Health Board has recently narrowed the eligibility criteria for the free vaccine to include only injection drug users, people with hep C, and HIV+ gay and bisexual men, thereby excluding HIV-negative gay and bisexual men.
A single vaccination provides only temporary immunity to the disease; a booster shot is required to provide long-term immunity. Unfortunately many HIV-negative gay and bisexual men in Vancouver have so far received only the first shot, and are not currently eligible to receive the booster shot free of charge.
The Vanguard Project has joined several community-based agencies
in writing letters to the BC Minister of Health about this issue.
We are advocating the implementation of an ongoing free vaccination
program which would allow all gay and bisexual men to receive
two hep A shots, regardless of HIV-status, in order to prevent
future outbreaks of the disease in Vancouver. We'll keep you posted
on the progress of this issue.