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PRESS RELEASE: February '96
(Vancouver) Mary Lou Miller has been hired by the Vanguard Project to assist with the recruitment and testing of study participants. Mary Lou is well known within Vancouver's gay community from her work at the Bute Street Clinic in the Gay & Lesbian Centre, where she worked as a street nurse until facing mandatory retirement in August.
"It's great to be back," says Miller. "I'm really glad to be using my nursing skills again in serving the gay community."
Over 500 gay and bisexual men in the Vancouver area have already signed up for this study of HIV rates and risk factors, and another 500 participants are still needed. Organizers are now targeting their recruitment efforts at specific populations, including ethnocultural and Aboriginal communities, street-involved youth, and sex trade workers.
Participants in the study visit doctors or medical clinics on an annual basis, where they are tested for HIV and asked to complete a detailed questionnaire about their sexual practices, risk reduction efforts, life experiences and degree of social support.
Mary Lou is currently available two afternoons a week at Vancouver's newest walk-in clinic, the Downtown South Community Health Centre. Anyone who would like to see her about participating in the project can drop by the clinic at 1065 Seymour St. (at Helmcken) on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Appointments can be made with Mary Lou by calling her at 808-9868.
"We're very lucky that Mary Lou was available to work with us," says Vanguard Project coordinator Steve Martindale. "Her skills and experience will be a real asset to the project."
The study is open to all men who have sex with men, whether they define themselves as gay, bisexual or straight. Eligible participants must be between the ages of 18 and 30 and live in the Lower Mainland. Information gathered on participants will be kept strictly confidential.
Launched in May 1995, the Vanguard Project aims to recruit a cohort of 1000 young men from throughout the Lower Mainland. Under the direction of Dr. Martin Schechter and colleagues at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, the study is expected to provide an accurate picture of infection rates among this population, still considered to be at high risk for HIV despite a decade of prevention education efforts.
Anyone interested in participating in the Vanguard Project is encouraged to contact Steve Martindale at 687-2469 or by e-mail at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
For more information, contact:
Vanguard Project Coordinator
608 - 1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6Z 1Y6