Gay ZONE is a new and exciting place where guys into guys can access sexual health testing and treatment as well as a wide array of health promotion activities and events, all in a congenial environment in a manner that is respectful, non-judgmental, and affirming.
Planning began in the autumn of 2007 when the Ottawa Gay Men’s Health Initiative contacted the City’s Medical Officer of Health concerning the continuing high rates of HIV infection among gay men in Ottawa, the rising rates of syphilis which makes it easier to contract or transmit HIV, and to find ways to increase the accessibility of sexual health services in Ottawa. The recent availability of the rapid HIV antibody test increased concerns about access.
At the same time, Centretown Community Health Centre proposed a partnership with Ottawa Public Health’s Healthy Sexuality and Risk Reduction Program to increase their long-standing outreach to the LGBT community.
The Sexual Health Centre of Ottawa Public Health readily agreed to re-allocate resources to meet these urgent needs. A coalition of community organizations cooperated to make this new venture possible.