HIV Care for Immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean

Research Team: Tony Antoniou (Principal Investigator); Wangari Tharao; Robert Remis; Mona Loutfy; Ahmed Bayoumi, Rick Glazier; Tola Mbulaheni; Ann Burchell; Zhaida Uddin; Claire Kendall

What is this research about?

The number of new cases of HIV among Ontarians originally from Africa and the Caribbean have more than doubled since 1996, but very little is known about the specific healthcare needs of this population, or how immigrant populations are currently using HIV services. This research uses Ontario’s administrative health databases (hosted by Institute of Clinical and Evaluative Sciences) and data from the OHTN Cohort Study to better understand the needs of this community. In particular, this study will investigate:

  • How many Ontarians with HIV originally from Africa and the Caribbean are accessing care, and how this has changed between the years 1996 and 2009;
  • How health service use compares with HIV-negative persons from Africa and the Caribbean and non-immigrants with HIV.
  • Differences in comorbid conditions between people with HIV originally form Africa and the Caribbean, HIV-negative individuals from these regions and non-immigrants with HIV.


Preliminary findings from this study suggest that people living with HIV originally from Africa and Caribbean have fewer HIV- and non-HIV related hospital admissions and emergency department room visits than non-immigrants with HIV. In contrast, HIV-specific outpatient visits are higher in this group. Chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension are more common in these patients relative to non-immigrants with HIV. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer are more common relative to HIV-negative people from Africa and the Caribbean, as are hospital admissions for mental health illness. These findings suggest some important areas where more support for this community is needed.

OHTN Support:

This research is supported by a $79,002 OHTN project grant. First awarded in December 2013, the project will complete in 2016.  Principal Investigator Tony Antoniou is also supported by an OHTN CIHR New Investigator grant ($300,000; 2014-2019).

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