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Talking with heterosexual Black men

iSpeak included two focus groups in Toronto and London (Ontario) with heterosexually-identified Black men—one for HIV-positive men (N=7) and the other for men who have never been diagnosed with HIV (N=7) (Table 1). To be eligible, participants had to identify as Black, African or Caribbean, be at least 18 years old, and reside in the city in question. Participants were recruited by word-of- mouth through a network of individuals and organizations, and through flyers posted at community- based organizations. The focus groups were 90-120 minutes in length, and were designed to elicit participants’ perspectives on issues related to HIV and health among Black men and among the wider ACB communities in Toronto and London. The focus groups were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Members of the research team read the transcripts separately, and then met to highlight and discuss the thematic content of the respective focus group discussions. As Table 1 shows, none of the participants in the heterosexual men’s focus group was born in Canada. Perhaps more importantly, participants in the two focus groups reported low incomes, especially in relation to their level of educational attainment.

Engaging service providers who work with ACB communities

We also organized a one-hour focus group (by telephone) with community-based service providers (N=6) who deliver HIV programs to Black communities in Ontario. Participants had at least two years of experience working on HIV-related issues with Black communities and service users. Five of the six worked in community-based agencies with provincially funded HIV prevention programs for ACB communities. Black men and women comprised five of the six participants. The focus group for service providers was designed to assess how they understood heterosexual Black men (i.e., their needs, challenges and priorities), based on their experience providing services to Black service users and communities. The lead researcher and project coordinator read the transcript separately, and later discussed the content to identify the main themes and issues.

Chatting up researchers

We also interviewed four researchers in Toronto with a demonstrated interest in various aspects of wellbeing among Black communities. These interviews ranged in length from 45 minutes to an hour. Three of the four researchers were Black men. The purpose of those interviews was to identify gaps in the research knowledge related to heterosexual Black men, and also determine their interest in collaborating on research studies that may emerge from iSpeak. Each interview was conducted by two members of the research team—the team leader posed the interview questions, and the study

coordinator recorded notes of the discussion. The coordinator then wrote the interview discussion as standard text, which was reviewed by the investigator and then circulated to the respective researchers for their comments, changes or corrections.