Recent developments in prevention are pointing to worrying gaps in the community-based approach to HIV prevention in Canada.
Perhaps we have been used to having only a single prevention technology on our books for so long – think condoms – that our ducks are not always in a row when new ones like PrEP come along. Thus potholes in our response become apparent – and none leap in to fix them.
After a series of somewhat inconclusive PrEP trials, whose results were marred by adherence issues, the results of more stringent trials like the PROUD and IPERGAY studies are in, and they are good. So good, in fact, that it would now be foolish not to put PrEP right at the front of the shelf that features ways to stay HIV-negative.
For those of us who work in HIV and Hep C prevention, the advent of new prevention approaches has made us increasingly dependent on evidence for making informed decisions about the best strategies to use with a particular client or community.
A while back, CATIE wanted to find out what’s been done across the country to assess the frontline needs of HIV and hepatitis C service providers and service users. As the information specialist (or librarian) here at CATIE, I was duly tasked with locating whatever reports I could find.
In Canada and in much of the Western world, thanks to the advent of combination antiretroviral therapy, there has been a clear improvement in health status and increased life expectancy of people living with HIV approaching that of the general population. However, despite these medical advances, negative public perception about HIV has yet to catch up to the reality that most clinicians encounter. The reality for the most part is of healthy and conscientious patients looking to improve their quality of life.
While HIV does not discriminate and can affect anyone, Canada’s HIV epidemic is concentrated in key populations – a result of both biological risk factors and the social determinants of health.
While roughly one out of every 10,000 Canadians is newly infected with HIV every year, the HIV incidence rate is much higher among Aboriginal peoples, Canadians born in countries where HIV is endemic, people who inject drugs, and men who have sex with men.
The CATIE Blog hosts the views and opinions of people and organizations working and volunteering in Canada’s response to HIV and hepatitis C.