Understanding HIV transmission among persons from Africa and the Caribbean following their arrival in Canada

Research Team:  Liviana Calzavara (principal applicant), Wangari Tharao (co-principal investigator), Amrita Daftary (co-principal investigator), Rupert Kaul, Ann Burchell, Lynne Leonard, Mona Loutfy, Tola Mbulaheni, Shannon Ryan

What is this research about?

People born in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean face an increased risk of contracting HIV, as there is a high prevalence of HIV in these regions. Immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean living in Ontario are also more likely to be living with HIV. It is estimated that about 70% of the people living with HIV in these communities were infected prior to migration; however, 20-30% are likely infected in Canada. Reducing these “local” transmissions is an important part of reducing the impact of HIV on African, Caribbean and Black Communities. Almost nothing is known about people who are newly infected after arriving in Canada, hindering the provision of effective services to these communities.

This research uses data from the OHTN Cohort Study to compare the health and demographic characteristics of HIV-positive immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean who contracted HIV in their homelands compared to those that are infected in Canada. In addition, the research team will conduct interviews with approximately 160 persons known or suspected to have been infected with HIV since arriving in Canada in order to understand the circumstances surrounding their infection and also the contextual factors that may have influenced their vulnerability to HIV infection. Members of African, Caribbean and Black communities have been involved at every step in the planning and implementation of this research.

OHTN Support:

This project is supported by an OHTN 4-year project grant of $334,688 awarded in 2014.

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