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PHO Rounds: The Geography of Sex: Men Who Have Sex With Men in the Suburbs

The Greater Toronto Area has a mature syphilis epidemic and emerging gonorrhea and Lymphogranuloma venereum epidemics among men who have sex with men (MSM). Interventions targeting these epidemics have largely ignored the role of MSM from suburban geographies. Presenters explored how MSM who lived, worked or socialized in the suburbs navigated their sexual lives and sexual health. Interviews were held with 44 MSM from in and around Peel Region between July and October 2021 about their connectedness and belonging, sex life, sexual health and activity space. Preliminary analysis found the following themes: suburban MSM are highly connected to urban, suburban and rural geographies; there is no "one size fits all" approach to sexual healthcare; suburbs can be health care deserts; outness is an important factor in health care selection; and the pandemic added an additional layer of stigma to sexual health care seeking. In addition to the above, presenters will also describe negative and positive sexual health care experiences from the study.

Intended audience: Public Health professionals, physicians and nurses working in communicable diseases, STBBI, sexual health and front-line physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Explain how suburban MSM are connecting with urban, suburban, rural and sexual health care settings in the Greater Toronto Area.
  • Discuss concepts such as convection mixing and activity space and describe how these concepts might inform interventions.
  • Identify factors that affect positive and negative sexual health care experiences.
  • Discuss ”outness” and how it might influence health care seeking decisions for MSM.

Présentateur(s): Dr. Dionne Gesink, Jillian Watkins and Winson Wong

Dr. Dionne Gesink, PhD, is a Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Dr. Gesink has built a research program investigating the social epidemiology of sexual health. She seeks to better understand the ways culture and environment shape the patterns of our sexual behaviours and relationships. Dr. Gesink uses novel approaches to navigate the complex connections between physical spaces and the people and communities who inhabit or pass through them, which provides insight into how to improve sexual health outcomes for vulnerable, marginalized, minority groups and the general population. Currently, Dr. Gesink is studying the geography of sex to reduce STI transmission among men who have sex with men (www.geographyofsex.ca).

Jillian Watkins, Executive Director, Moyo Health and Community Services

Winson Wong, 2SLGBTQ+ Training and Capacity Coordinator, Moyo Health and Community Services

Avis de non-responsabilité

The opinions expressed by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies or views of Public Health Ontario, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by Public Health Ontario.


Public Health Ontario Grand Rounds are a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC). In order to receive written documentation for Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits, please check “Yes” beside the question “Do you require CME credits?” on the registration form.

College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) Affiliate Members may count RCPSC credits toward their Mainpro+ credit requirements. All other CFPC members may claim up to 50 Certified credits per cycle for participation in RCPSC MOC Section 1 accredited activities.

PHO Grand Rounds are also approved by the Council of Professional Experience for professional development hours (PDHs) for members of the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (CIPHI).

For more information or for a record of registration for other Continuing Education purposes, please contact events@oahpp.ca


Public Health Ontario is committed to complying with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). If you require accommodations to participate in this event, please contact 647-260-7100 or events@oahpp.ca.

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Mis à jour le 12 juill. 2023