Cruising Counts: Examining Online and App-based Sexual Health Outreach for MSM in Ontario

Gay, bisexual, 2-spirit, straight, queer cis- and trans-gender men of all ages and immigration statuses who have sex with other men (MSM) are increasingly using the Internet to seek social and sexual relationships. Research has demonstrated increased risk for HIV transmission by men seeking partners online, but also the effectiveness of online interventions to reduce these risks. In particular, these methods are effective in connecting with traditionally hard to reach MSM who do not or cannot access common in-person outreach services at bars or bathhouses (e.g. men in rural areas, men who aren’t out, and young men not of age).

Currently, there is considerably little comprehensive online outreach for MSM in Ontario. Without an effective online presence, public health agencies and AIDS service organizations are missing a growing opportunity to connect online with MSM to prevent further HIV infections. This project has identified strategies to enhance effective outreach services for MSM in Ontario, and promoting the integration of current evidence into existing and emerging policies and programs, as well as providing rationale and support for the expansion of effective online outreach with MSM in Ontario by identifying approaches to address current barriers and challenges. This research supports the delivery of broadly available, accessible, culturally competent, and comprehensive online outreach to MSM, that enhances their sexual wellbeing and decreases the risk of HIV transmission.

The study included interviews with AIDS Service organizations, public health officials and community based programs about their efforts at online outreach. An online survey asked MSM about their online use and experiences with sexual health promotion via websites and mobile apps.

Rusty Souleymanov
Research Assistant

David J. Brennan
Principal Investigator

Nathan J. Lachowsky
Co-Principal Investigator

David J. Brennan
University of Toronto

Nathan J. Lachowsky
University of British Columbia

Gerardo Betancourt
University of Toronto

Vijaya Chikermane
Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention

Meredith Fraser
Regional HIV/AIDS Connection

Duncan MacLachlan
Ontario HIV Treatment Network

Owen McEwen
Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance

James Murray
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Daniel Pugh
Sherbourne Health Centre

Garfield Durrant
Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention

Richard Utama
Asian Community AIDS Services

Simon Rosser
University of Minnesota

Phone Lines

Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youthline // 1.800.268.9688

Kids Help Phone // 1.800.668.6868

Scarborough Sexual Health Clinic // 416.338.7438

Community Information – Toronto

211 Toronto


Pride & Prejudice – Central Toronto Youth Services (CTYS)

David Kelley Lesbian and Gay Community Counselling Program

David Kelley HIV/AIDS Community Counselling Program

Health Care 

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Sherbourne Health Centre

Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition

Canadian Health Network

Central Toronto Community Health Centre

Access Alliance Multi-cultural Community Health Centre

National Eating Disorder Information Centre

SHOUT Clinic 416-927-8553

The House (Planned Parenthood) 416-927-7171

Street Outreach Services (SOS) 416-926-0744

Sexual Health

Hassle Free Clinic

Planned Parenthood of Toronto

Teen Sex Information Program (Planned Parenthood)


AIDS & Sexual Health InfoLine  416.392.2437

The AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT)

Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP)

Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention

Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS)

Toronto People With AIDS Foundation (PWA)

Canadian AIDS Society / Société canadienne du sida

Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Network

Toronto Hospital HIV/AIDS Clinic

African & Caribbean Council on HIV /AIDS in Ontario (ACCHO)

Substance Use

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Fred Victor Centre – Harm Reduction program

Camps for LGBT kids & youth

Camp Ten Oaks

Camp fYreflY

Community Centres

The 519 Community Centre (Toronto)

Queer DisAbility Resources

Cross-DisAbilities/Genders/Sexualities Working Group:

Bent: A journal of cripgay voices

Deaf Queer Resource Centre 

Ontario Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf 

The 519 Community Centre Community Counselling Program

Education – ESL (English as a second language)

Search for an ESL Program – Toronto District School Board


Fred Victor Centre – Employment

St. Stephen’s Community House – Employment & Training Centre

Skills for Change


Accessible Community Counselling and Employment Services (ACCES)

Job Start

Foodbanks and Meal Programs

The Red Cross 416.929.7848

Scott Mission 416.923.8872

St.John the Compassionate Mission 416.466.1357


Fred Victor Centre – Housing access and support

Casey House for People living with HIV/AIDS

Fife House for People living with HIV/AIDS

Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal

Housing Connections


Homelessness Action Group

Metro Network for Social Justice


Ontario Coalition Against Poverty


LEGIT – The Lesbian & Gay Immigration Task Force – Canada

Legal: Legal Aid

Justice for Children & Youth

Legal Aid Ontario

HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario

Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)

A Legal Resource Centre for People with Disabilities

Pro Bono Law Ontario

Mental Health

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – Rainbow Services

Across Boundaries Community Mental Health Centre

Children’s Mental Health Ontario

Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division

Griffin Centre

Gerstein Centre 


Settlement – Welcome to Ontario

Culture Link

Shelter – Youth

Covenant House

Turning Point Youth Services

Youth without shelter

Shelter for Refugees

Romero House – 416.763.1303

Sojourn House – 416.864.0515

Matthew House  – 416.203.7848

Social & Financial Assistance

Ontario Works – Social Assistant

Online magazines

Gay Guide Toronto

Other Queer groups

Salaam Canada (Queer Muslim Community)

Kulanu Toronto, a Jewish LGBTQ social group

Avanti – Italian Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals

Trans, Two Spirit, Intersex

Trans Youth Toronto (The 519 Community Centre)

Trans Programmes at the 519

Two Spirited People of the 1st Nations

Intersex Society of North America

Bodies Like Ours (Intersex) 

Information on Name Changes in Ontario


Transsexual Menace


Sylvia Rivera Law Project

Vancouver Transgender Health Program

FTM International

Trans Health


Guelph Queer Equality

OUTline – 519.836.4550


Hamilton AIDS Network


GLBTQ Community Centre Initiative

Housing Help / Aide logement

Housing Help for people with HIV/AIDS

Gay Ottawa

Thunder Bay

AIDS Thunder Bay