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