Gay men's 2015 health summit offers First Nations and arts expertise

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      The 11th Gay Men's Health Summit is being held this week (at SFU Harbour Centre) and if you haven't registered already, now's the time to do it.

      The conference, presented by the Community-Based Research Centre launches on Wednesday night (November 4) with a party at Studio 126 (126 East Pender) from 6 to 8 p.m.

      As indicated by the art theme of the opening party, this year, CBRC is ramping up its arts-related content.

      A reception and readings on Thursday (November 5) will serve as the launch for three publications.

       CBRC blogger Sarah Shown will be releasing At the Interface: Exploring Theory in the Practice of Gay Men’s Health.

      Craig Barron's Stories and Stigma, created with a grant from the City of Vancouver's Cultural Arts Program, is a collection of personal experiences of stigma from gay men.

      The inaugural edition of Annals of Gay Sexuality 2015: The Contemporary HIV Zeitgiest takes an arts-based approach to gay sexual culture. Edited by Robert Birch and Marcus Greatheart have compiled contributions from Europe, the U.S, and Canada. Among them is UBC professor and author Michael V. Smith (My Body is Yours) who will be in attendance.

      The main theme of the conference is undoing stigma. That issue will be tackled by a variety of different experts from various backgrounds and communities, ranging from gay youth to HIV and AIDS researchers.

      Among the various offerings, attendees will have several opportunities to learn from First Nations expertise and experience.

      Aboriginal issues will be addressed by keynote speaker Dr. Evan Adams, First Nations Health Authority of B.C.

      He'll be speaking on Friday (November 6) at a session entitled Resisting Stigma: The Impacts of Stigma on Indigenous Sexual health with moderator Olivier Ferlatte of CBRC.

      The First Nations Health Authority became the first province-wide health authority of its kind in Canada when it took over from Health Canada's First Nations Inuit Health Branch for the Pacific region in 2013.

      Also on Friday, on the panel Communities of Resilience, Sandy Lambert of the Aboriginal HIV & AIDS Community-Based Research Collaborative Centre (AHA Centre) will comment on David Brennan of the University of Toronto's study about resilience among long-term HIV positive two-spirit men in Ontario. They will discuss findings from the Two-Spirit HIV/AIDS Wellness and Longevity Study (2SHAWLS) in Ontario. 

      Meanwhile, Jared Star of Winnipeg's Rainbow Resource Centre will also be speaking on the panel Gay Youth Fighting Stigma: Initiatives from Totally Outright about how stigma reinforces intragroup isolation within gay, bisexual, queer and two-spirit men in Winnipeg on Thursday (November 5).

      The Vancouver Infectious Disease Centre will be participating in the summit for the first time, and they'll be offering three presentations in the program. They'll be presenting information about MSM (men who have sex with men) from the Downtown Eastside, a population that hasn't received much attention.

      To register or to find out more information about the summit, visit the CBRC website.

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