HIV/AIDS prevention for women in Canada
Over the last 25 years Canadian researchers, policy makers, and non-governmental organizations have made significant strides developing an in-depth understanding and response to the impact of HIV/AIDS.
Despite the fact that HIV infection can be prevented, the number of individuals living with HIV in Canada is rising. Women now account for a significantly larger proportion of people living with HIV and AIDS in Canada (EPI update 2010). There are many complex and intersecting determinants of health that influence initial vulnerability to infection as well as health outcomes among women living with HIV.
Women’s vulnerability to HIV infection has been shaped by determinants of health, including gender, income, education, unemployment, access to stable housing, early childhood development, physical environments, access to health services, support networks, social environments, sexual violence, culture, among others.
Gender and gender-related expectations, such as power inequalities between men and women, and issues of sexual and reproductive autonomy are examples of how such determinants of health factor into issues of HIV infection. The intersection of such factors influencing women’s health underscore the urgent need for approaches to HIV prevention that address the underlying context of HIV infection rates.
Canadian researchers, policy makers, community members, and non-governmental organizations have made significant strides developing an in-depth understanding and response to the impact of HIV/AIDS.
However, there has been a lack of attention to integrating HIV prevention findings into a meaningful and cohesive synthesis across sectors. This has important implications with respect to the next generation of HIV prevention approaches, including policy, research, programming and frontline responses.
An important first step is to identify, assess, and interpret the existing Canadian pool of peer reviewed knowledge.
With this in mind, Dalhousie University, University of Ottawa, University of New Brunswick, University of Alberta, University of Windsor and several national partners (the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, the Canadian AIDS society, the Canadian Public Health Association, the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange) developed this research synthesis project to examine the existing qualitative HIV prevention literature related to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women in Canada.