Elevate NWO


Elevate NWO is currently involved in a multi-AIDS Service organization research project, “A Needs Assessment of Hidden and Hard-to-Reach Populations in Northern Ontario and Niagara” aimed at identifying the service needs of the men who have sex with men. 

The populations that use the services of Community-Based AIDS Organizations (CBAO’s) in northern Ontario and the small urban centre of Niagara are disproportionally people who inject drugs and people who are co-infected with Hepatitis C. The member organizations – Elevate NWO, Réseau Access Network, AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area, AIDS Committee of Simcoe County, and AIDS Niagara – realize that other priority populations who may be living with or at risk of HIV – including gay men, bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men (other MSM – men who are in heterosexual relationships but who seek sex with other men) — request our services less often.

We are concerned that our services have become associated with injection drug use, discouraging other people living with and at risk of HIV infection from accessing services. Our programming may have evolved to serve the needs of a particular niche and may not be addressing the needs of men who have sex with men. For example, the priorities of people who use substances who readily access our services are basic needs such as housing, food and access to medications – while men who have sex with men may have different needs related to HIV prevention. We may need to develop different services and provide them in different ways to be able to reach these “hidden” populations. To do that, we need to know more about these populations, whether they are aware of our services, whether they have unmet needs related to HIV infection or risk, and how our services can meet their needs.

Goals and Objectives

Our goal is to reach gay men, bisexual men and other MSM in our catchment areas who are not currently using CBAO services, to assess their service needs, and to identify and develop effective ways to serve them.

Our primary objectives are to:

  1. Identify effective ways to connect with hidden and hard-to-reach populations, including gay men, bisexual men, and other MSM; understand their prevention and support needs; identify the services they are using now; and identify any barriers they face in accessing and/or using CBAO services.
  2. Use the study findings to develop education, outreach, and support services that will meet the needs of our target populations, and share our findings with other service providers in our communities and other parts of the province to improve services for those populations.
  3. Enhance our capacity and the capacity of peer research associates to participate in community-based research and strengthen the relationships between members of our team and academic researchers, clients living with HIV/AIDS, and other CBAOs.

Contact Elevate NWO

Thunder Bay: 807-345-1516
Toll free: 1-800-488-5840
(Within 807 area code)
Fax: 807-345-2505

102-106 Cumberland St. North, Thunder Bay, ON, P7A 4M2



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