XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Community consultation on an HIV clinic for black women and women of colour

L.-A. Green-Walker, N. Massaquoi, W. Tharao, M. Muchenje

Women's Health in Women's Hands CHC, Toronto, Canada

Background: Women's Health in Women's Hands Community Health Centre (WHIWH-CHC) is committed to increasing the health of women from African, Caribbean, Latin American, and South Asian communities living in Toronto, Canada by developing and delivering health care services and strategies designed to address chronic diseases that impact their health. In 1997 we identified and prioritized HIV as a chronic disease of concern to women from our priority populations. In June of 2009, a comprehensive needs assessment was conducted to determine whether or not an HIV Clinic located at WHIWH would be the most desirable strategy for providing services, support and care to Black women and women of colour living with HIV/AIDS.
Objective of presentation: To highlight key factors and complexities which impact the ability of racialized women living with HIV to access adequate health care services and support.
a. Key informant interviews were held with family physicians, mental health professionals, HIV/AIDS workers, and medical researchers.
b. Focus groups were conducted with 35 African, Caribbean, Latin American, and South Asian HIV positive women to identify gaps and overlaps in health care service needs.
Results: Results from focus groups and in-depth interviews indicate the inadequacy of main stream health care services and support available to racialized HIV positive women including: issues with confidentiality and anonymity; significant systemic barriers such as racism, sexism, and classism; differential treatment due to immigration status; lack of mental health support; and inappropriate disclosure of their medical history.
Conclusions: In meeting the complex needs of HIV positive women from racialized communities, the establishment of a dedicated, comprehensive community-based HIV clinic with a case management component is essential. The HIV clinic should be modeled from best practices and differ from mainstream HIV related health care services.

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