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Prevention and Vulnerable Populations (PVP)

CTN 262: Canadian HIV women’s sexual and reproductive health cohort study (CHIWOS)

Canadian HIV women’s sexual and reproductive health cohort study, a Canadian observational cohort (CANOC) affiliated study

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About the study

This prospective cohort study operates within community-based research, GIPA (greater involvement of people with HIV/AIDS), and MIWA (meaningful involvement of women living with HIV/AIDS) approaches by prioritizing the leadership and experiences of women living with HIV. The aim of the study is to assess the proportion, distribution and patterns of use and uptake of women-centred HIV/AIDS services, and factors associated with service uptake among HIV-positive women living in Canada. This study will also estimate the effect of women-centred HIV/AIDS services uptake on the sexual, reproductive, mental and women’s health outcomes of women living with HIV in Canada.

About the disease/condition

Research has demonstrated that women face not only biological susceptibility to HIV, but also increased vulnerability due to social factors such as poverty, marginalization, violence, and gender inequity. Women who are HIV-positive have unique care needs, but frequently face inattention to their specific social circumstances and health needs, particularly those of a sexual, reproductive and mental health nature, and may experience diverse challenges in accessing care. Preliminary research indicates that many women could benefit from women-centred services that would more fully address their unique needs in a supportive, inclusive, and accessible manner.

About the approach/intervention

CHIWOS brings together a national, multi-disciplinary research team that includes researchers, clinical staff, community partners, and women living with HIV from various fields across Canada. In the start-up period for the study, the study team built relationships within their diverse group and began outreach with the larger community. Eleven focus groups were conducted to determine community definitions for women-centred care and stakeholders were consulted across the country to develop, pilot and refine the study survey. CHIWOS will recruit and enroll 1,250 HIV-positive women in the three study provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Participants will complete an online survey administered by a Peer Research Associate at baseline and 18 months later. This study will yield critical information which will help fill knowledge gaps about women, HIV, and HIV/AIDS care, and may enable improvements in the care, health, and wellbeing of HIV-positive women in Canada.

Twitter: @CHIWOSresearch

Eligibility criteria

Individuals will be eligible for the study if they meet the following inclusion criteria:

  • woman (self-identified)
  • HIV-positive (self-identified,referred)
  • 16 years of age or older
  • residing in BC, ON or QC
  • willing and able to provide voluntary, informed consent

Participating sites

Participants will be recruited into the study across each province from various clinics, AIDS Service Organizations, social services such as shelters, and through online, peer outreach and other informal networks. If interested in participating or would like more information, please contact a Coordinator in your region.

BC Coordinator: Rebecca Gormley
Phone: 604-558-6686, or 1-855-506-8615 (toll free – option 1)
QC Coordinator: Karène Proulx-Boucher
Phone: 514-934-1934 ext: 32146
ON Coordinator: Mina Kazemi
Phone: 416-351-3800 ext: 2741
SK Coordinator: Jaqueline Anaquod
Phone: 306-737-8365

Additional Information

If you would like more information on this clinical study, please refer to a participating site or the CHIWOS website.

Principal Investigators

Dr. Mona Loutfy
Maple Leaf Clinic, Toronto
Tel: 416-465-7936

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Research for treatments, prevention and a cure