The Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS Principle (GIPA) has been a core commitment for many people involved in the community-based HIV/AIDS movement. GIPA refers to the inclusion of people living with HIV/AIDS in service delivery and decision-making processes that affect their lives. Despite its central importance to the movement, it has received little attention in the academic literature. Drawing on focus group discussions among staff members and volunteers of AIDS service organizations, activists, and community members, we explore challenges to the implementation of the GIPA principle in community-based HIV/AIDS organizations in Ontario, Canada. Our findings reveal ways in which implementing GIPA has become more complicated over recent years. Challenges relating to health, stigma and disclosure, evolving HIV/AIDS organizations, and GIPA-related tensions are identified. This paper considers our findings in light of previous research, and suggests some implications for practice.
In this article, we consider how the broad context of Aboriginal people's lives can shape their experience and understanding of their HIV diagnosis. We conducted interviews across Canada with 72 Aboriginal people living with HIV who also reported feelings of depression. Consistent with what has been found in previous studies, participants responded to their HIV diagnosis with shock, disbelief, and often anger. Prior depression, drug and alcohol use, multiple losses, stigma, and social isolation also shaped how participants experienced their diagnosis. We consider how the history of colonization of Aboriginal communities in Canada relates to the experience of HIV diagnosis, and end with a discussion of the service implications of our findings.
HIV infection is a serious concern in the Canadian Aboriginal population, particularly among youth; however, there is limited attention to this issue in research literature. The purpose of this national study was to explore HIV testing and care decisions of Canadian Aboriginal youth.
A community-based mixed-method design incorporating the Aboriginal research principles of Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAP) was used. Data were collected through surveys (n = 413) and qualitative interviews (n = 28). Eleven community-based organizations including urban Aboriginal AIDS service organizations and health and friendship centres in seven provinces and one territory assisted with the recruitment of youth (15 to 30 years).
Average age of survey participants was 21.5 years (median = 21.0 years) and qualitative interview participants was 24.4 years (median = 24.0). Fifty-one percent of the survey respondents (210 of 413 youth) and 25 of 28 interview participants had been tested for HIV. The most common reason to seek testing was having sex without a condom (43.6%) or pregnancy (35.4%) while common reasons for not testing were the perception of being low HIV risk (45.3%) or not having had sex with an infected person (34.5%). Among interviewees, a contributing reason for not testing was feeling invulnerable. Most surveyed youth tested in the community in which they lived (86.5%) and 34.1% visited a physician for the test. The majority of surveyed youth (60.0%) had tested once or twice in the previous 2 years, however, about one-quarter had tested more than twice. Among the 26 surveyed youth who reported that they were HIV-positive, 6 (23.1%) had AIDS at the time of diagnosis. Delays in care-seeking after diagnosis varied from a few months to seven years from time of test.
It is encouraging that many youth who had tested for HIV did so based on a realistic self-assessment of HIV risk behaviours; however, for others, a feeling of invulnerability was a barrier to testing. For those who tested positive, there was often a delay in accessing health services.
The objective of this study was to explore HIV testing experiences and service views of Canadian Aboriginal youth in order to provide information for HIV testing services. An exploratory, mixed-method, community-based research design was used for this study. Findings reported here are from 210 survey participants who had experienced an HIV test. Youth were recruited through 11 Aboriginal organizations across Canada, including AIDS service organizations, health centers, community organizations, and friendship centers. Youth who had tested for HIV ranged in age from 15 to 30 years of age (20% were