Home What This Report is About

What are the HIV-related needs, challenges and priorities of heterosexual Black men1 in Ontario? iSpeak was a research study designed to explore answers to this question. We discuss the results in this report. But we also attempt to do somewhat more. We have taken identities that some people may consider privileged (e.g., being a man, heterosexuality) or self-evident (Black men are “difficult”, reckless” or “wanton”) and critically examined our received wisdom.


In 2011, the iSpeak team organized two focus groups with Black men in London (in collaboration with the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection) and Toronto. The focus groups were for African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) men who were HIV-positive or HIV-negative (i.e., never diagnosed with HIV). In addition, the team also held a focus group with service providers from across Ontario who work with ACB communities on HIV prevention and support. We also spoke with a small number of researchers whose research has focussed on the health and wellbeing of ACB communities. The team implemented those activities after obtaining ethics clearance from the HIV/AIDS Research Ethics Board at the University of Toronto.


Our research was exploratory (it was originally funded by a Catalyst Grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, which was later supplemented with financial assistance from the CIHR Social Research Centre in HIV Prevention). We hope that the research will help ACB communities, researchers, service providers and policy makers better understand some of the issues relevant to HIV prevention for Black men, as well as issues relevant to care and support for Black men who are living with HIV. We also hope that the report will generate serious dialogue about community engagement related to Black men, access to programs and services to enhance Black mens health, and further research to address more comprehensively the priorities that emerge from this research.