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The DUDES' Club

An innovative health service model for marginalised inner-city men living with or at risk of HIV infection in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside - one of Canada's most impoverished neighbourhoods.

The need

Although British Columbia represents approximately 13% of Canada's total population, this province is home to 18% of Canadians living with HIV.

Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES) is one of Canada's poorest neighborhoods. Aboriginal people comprise 70% of the DTES population. Although the male-to-female ratio of the population is about 8:1, most community-based programmes cater primarily to women and children.

Men's health is still an emerging field of medicine that receives scarce attention. There are many reasons for the discrepancy between gender-specific programmes; the most resounding is men's tendency not to attend and/or participate. We believe this is caused by lack of trust, and by men's perceived role in Western society.

The DUDES' Club is designed to serve HIV-positive men whose lives are characterised by a complex set of overlapping social, emotional and physical challenges that include (but are not limited to): homelessness, mental illnesses that are often untreated, chronic drug use, unemployment and poverty.

Key Facts

Project: 
The DUDES' Club

Run by:
Vancouver Native Health Society

Region:
Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, one of Canada's most impoverished neighborhoods

Population:
Marginalised inner-city men, mostly of Aboriginal ethnicity, living with or at risk of HIV infection

Challenges:
Stigma and discrimination; poor education; poverty and unstable housing; injection drug use; mental illness

Activities:
Bi-weekly group meetings focussing on peer-support-driven men's health education, traditional storytelling, and male-oriented recreation