HIV testing and early diagnosis offer several benefits; they can allow people to access the treatment, care, information and support they need to live long and healthy lives, and to protect themselves and others from (re)infection. This being the case, it is currently estimated that a quarter of HIV positive individuals in Canada are unaware of their status, a number that highlights the existence of significant barriers to HIV testing in the country.
Because of gendered norms and expectations, economic, geographical and other issues, as well as their overlapping roles and responsibilities as caregivers, partners, community members, students, workers, etc, women face particular concerns when it comes to accessing and experiencing HIV testing in Canada.
To better understand these issues, the Canadian AIDS Society undertook a community-based research project between 2009 and 2011, overseen by a Programs Consultant working in collaboration with a Research Steering Committee. The project drew from a mixed-methodology approach, including a review of academic and grey literature, an online survey completed by 75 respondents and 15 key informant interviews to identify the barriers that limit women’s access to HIV testing in the country, and the various strategies and recommendations that can help mitigate them.
A number of resources have been developed as part of the project. We are happy to make them available to you: