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.