About Us

The Gender and Sexual Heatlh Initiative (GSHI) is a UBC research program established in 2010 and housed at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. 

Based on research on gender and social inequities, sexual health and HIV/AIDS among marginalized populations, our overall mission is to inform evidence-based policy and practice in gender, sexual health and HIV/AIDS and reduce health inequities among marginalized populations.

Our Research

We are committed to research that promotes gender and sexual equity, and human rights for all, which includes access to safe, non-judgmental health care free of stigma and discrimination. We recognize that in the past, unethical research of marginalized populations in relation to sexual health and HIV/AIDS has often only added to the stigma and marginalization they experience. We ensure that our research adheres to the highest scientific and ethical standards. It is subject to rigorous peer review, follows the Tri-Council guidelines, is approved and monitored by the UBC Providence Health/ University of Ethical Review Board, and is responsive to ethical considerations raised by our partners and community advisory boards. For research with sex workers, GSHI follows the BCCEC/PACE community-identified ethical guidelines. GSHI is committed to MIWA and MIPA principles of meaningful engagement and inclusion of women living with HIV.

Goals and Mission

We believe that decisions should be made based on the best available evidence. It is our job to ensure that research is not just held to the highest scientific and ethical standards, but is disseminated to those that are in positions to enact change. To ensure our research has the most impact, we regularly engage with a diverse range of stakeholders, from legal, health and government policy makers to health providers and the affected community. Affected communities frequently participate in our research as collaborators, partners, researchers, and co-authors, and we work together to make our research available to the public and policy makers.

Guiding Principles

  • Protection and Promotion of Gender and Sexual Equity
  • Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, Including Right to Health
  • Adherence to the Highest Ethical Standards
  • Adherence to the Highest Scientific Standards
  • Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange
  • Promotion of Evidence-Based Sexual Health Policies and Programs


GSHI is primarily supported through peer-review research funds from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, National Institutes of Health, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. GSHI has also received funds from MacAIDS and has consulted for the World Health Organization. GSHI is supported by the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, an affiliate of Providence Health Care and the University of British Columbia.