Between skepticism and empowerment: the experiences of peer research assistants in HIV/AIDS, housing and homelessness community-based research

People living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) in Canada are a highly researched population, yet their inclusion in the research process is minimal. Communitybased research (CBR) has become a recognized tool for addressing issues of power and exclusion within researcher/community relationships by inviting the community’s equitable involvement as research partners. Within the context of HIV/AIDS research, this includes a commitment to the Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GIPA) at all stages of the research process. One way of adopting GIPA principles within CBR is through providing employment, research training, and capacity building opportunities for PHAs as peer research assistants (PRAs). Drawing on data from two in-depth focus groups with seven PRAs from the Positive Spaces, Healthy Places: Community-based Research Study, this paper will highlight important methodological practices for academic and community-based researchers who are working with and supporting PRAs.

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International Journal of Social Research Methodology