• What is involved in the research?

    You would be asked to complete a survey of approximately 30 minutes time.  The survey can be done online (on your computer or smart phone) or with an interviewer over the telephone.

    In addition, at the end of the survey you can also:

    • volunteer for a more in-depth telephone interview
    • refer your current partner
    • refer other people who may be eligible
  • What are the questions about?

    You will be asked questions about:

    • your background,  for example: your age, sex, gender, sexual history, HIV history (if HIV-positive) etc.
    • your relationship,   for example: your relationship satisfaction, how you communicate with each other, how you manage HIV risk, etc.
    • Your social world, for example: experiences telling other people about your HIV-discordant relationship, social support, etc.
    • Your met and unmet needs in the relationship, including access to HIV testing and treatment, health care, counselling, etc.
  • Who can participate?

    You can participate in the study if you meet the following criteria:

    • You are currently in a relationship where one partner is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative and the relationship has lasted 3 months or longer, OR you were in one in the past 2 years,
    • You live in Canada, and lived in Canada during the relationship,
    • You are at least 18 years old,
    • You speak either English or French,
    • If you are HIV-positive, you have disclosed your status to your HIV-negative partner.


    While we are interested in hearing from both partners, it is not required that both of you participate.

  • Can my partner and I do the survey together at the same time?

    If you currently have a primary partner who has a different HIV status from you, we will ask you to invite them to separately complete the survey, after you have finished yours. By primary partner, we mean you consider yourselves to be “a couple,” “together” or “dating.” If your partner is not interested, you can still participate in the study.

    If you and your partner are both interested in taking part, we ask that one partner takes the survey first. Then at the end, you will be asked to create a unique code that you will pass to your partner and invite them to take part. You don't need to decide right away, but we do ask that you to create the unique code at that time. Then, if your partner takes the survey later by phone, or on-line, they will begin their survey by entering this code in response to the first question of the survey. That way we can link your answers to theirs. The decision to recruit your partner is up to you.

    Neither of you will be able to see the other person’s survey answers. However, by linking your surveys we will be able to understand how HIV affects both partners (HIV-negative and HIV-positive) in the relationship.

  • If my survey is linked to my partner’s, will they be able to see my answers?

    Absolutely not, neither of you will be able to see the answers of the other person. Only the researchers doing the analysis will be able to see how both partners answered.

  • How will the results of the study be used?

    When we write reports from this survey we will only refer to grouped information (e.g., 55% of survey respondents had been in a previous serodiscordant relationship before their current one) and no one will be able to identify you or your answers. The reports will be used to help HIV doctors and the staff at AIDS Service Organizations to better understand what it is like to live in a serodiscordant relationship. It will be used to determine whether people need any further information or services to help them adjust to living with HIV in their relationship.

  • What is a “Token of Appreciation”, and how do I get mine?

    We appreciate the time and effort required to answer our questions completely and accurately. If you complete the survey you will be given a $20 gift card (from your choice of: Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire, Walmart, Subway Restaurants, or President's Choice - Loblaw Ltd. stores e.g., SuperStore, No Frills, Zehrs, Loblaws, etc.) as a token of our appreciation. Gift cards can only be mailed within Canada.

    At the end of the survey you will be directed to a separate location to provide your mailing address so we can send your gift card to you. If you are unable to provide an address where we can send the card, we will be unable to send it to you. You may arrange to have it sent “in care of” an agency where you can pick it up. The gift card will be sent to you in a plain envelope without the project name or any sign that it is related to HIV research.

    If your partner completes the survey, they are also eligible to receive a gift card of their choice.

  • When I finished the survey I did not get asked to provide my name and mailing address so you could send me a gift card. How do I get one?

    We are very sorry. Your survey answers and your name and contact information are stored in 2 separate survey databases. Sometimes it takes a while to save your answers before the second survey collecting your contact information can open. If you click on “submit answers” a second time before you are transferred, you may not be transferred correctly, and then you would not have the chance to provide us with your contact information.

    If this has happened to you, to get a gift card please call the Positive Plus One Project Manager, Sandra Bullock, toll free at 1-888-740-1166, extension 1, or email her directly at info@PositivePlusOne.ca to receive one. You will be asked a couple of questions about when you completed the survey.

  • I don’t have a computer or smart phone can I still participate?

    You don't need to have a computer or smart phone to take part in the survey. You can call the study toll-free telephone number (1-888-740-1166), at no charge to you, and book an appointment to do the survey with an interviewer, over the telephone. It might take a little longer to take over the phone than it would to do on-line.

  • If I call the phone line can I do the interview right away?

    It may be possible to complete the survey right away. However, it is more likely that you will be booked for an appointment on another day. The interviewer will either phone you at a phone number you provide; or if you prefer, you can call the toll-free phone number again at your appointment time. The Positive Plus One study toll-free telephone number is 1-888-740-1166.

  • What is the in-depth telephone interview?

    At the end of the survey, you will be asked if you would like to take part in a conversation-like interview by telephone. If you are interested, you can leave your phone number or email information in a form that is separate from your survey answers. We can only interview a small number of people, about 120 people, or 60 couples. So, not everyone who volunteers will be contacted to take part in this part of the research. If we do call/email you, we will do it within about 6 months of your survey.

    While the survey provides us with important information, we don’t believe that it can fully capture what it is like to live in a relationship where one partner has HIV and the other doesn't. To better understand, we would like to talk with a small number of survey participants to hear about their experiences, from their point of view. This will help us to better understand the lives of people and how serodiscordant relationships can change over time.

    This interview will take between 1 and 1 ½ hours to complete. If you do take part in it, we will send you a second gift card, worth $40.

  • Contact information?

    If you have any questions or would like more information about the research study, contact our office by phone or email:

    • Call toll free 1-888-740-1166
    • info@PositivePlusOne.ca
    • Study Manager, Dr. Sandra Bullock: Email: s.bullock@utoronto.ca
  • Will my identity be kept secret?

    All answers that you provide will be anonymous and confidential. If you complete the survey on-line, your IP address will not be collected, and we will not leave any cookies on your device.

    Although we ask for your name and contact information to send you your gift card and contact you to take part in the in-depth interview (if you volunteer for it), that information is stored separately from your survey answers Doctors at HIV clinics and staff at AIDS Service Organizations will not know you are participating in the study.

    The information we collect in will be reported on a group basis (e.g.,   55% of survey respondents had been in a previous serodiscordant relationship before their current one) when we write reports and articles about the research findings, and present information at research conferences.

  • Who is conducting the study?
  • Who has funded the research study?

    The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Research Centre on HIV (SRC) at the University of Toronto.

  • Has the research study received ethics approval?

    The study has received ethics approval from the University of Toronto Research Ethics Board and the Ethics review board of additional HIV/Infectious Disease Clinic Hospitals.

  • Can I find out the results of the study?

    The study results will be available in three ways:

    • on the web-site once we have finished doing the surveys www.PositivePlusOne.ca
    • from clinics and AIDS Service organizations who helped with recruitment, and
    • by mail or email if you leave us your contact information by telephone or email
  • Why do you need to link two partners survey answers?

    There has been a lot of research on living with HIV. There are far fewer studies about how HIV affects people's relationships. This means that we know very little about what it is like for both the HIV-positive and the HIV-negative partner in a relationship. Even if both partners live in similar situations, each may have their own experiences and perspectives and. Partners may also need or want to access different services. Linking the surveys of both partners will help us to understand how two people come together to shape their relationship and how their experiences and perspectives differ.