TORONTO, June 1, 2011 Despite significant clinical advances in HIV care, an estimated 25 per cent of new HIV infections in Ontario from 2006 to 2008 were among women, according to a health study by researchers from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and St. Michael's Hospital. The researchers say 93 per cent of new infections among women are acquired through sexual transmission and seven per cent through injection drug use. About 60 per cent of newly infected women are immigrants. The findings, the latest from the POWER (Project for an Ontario Women's Health Evidence-Based Report) study, suggest targeted prevention and intervention efforts are necessary to eliminate gaps and inequities in care for HIV patients.
"We have made real progress in preventing HIV infection and in treating people living with HIV, but we also identified several groups for whom important disparities persist, including older women, Aboriginal women, and women who have immigrated from countries where HIV is endemic," says Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi, lead author on the chapter and a physician at St. Michael's Hospital. "We also identified differences related to poverty, injection drug use, and geography. Our findings suggest that addressing such factors will be important for delivering universal, high-quality HIV care in Ontario."
The POWER Study a joint study from St. Michael's Hospital and ICES is the first in the province to provide a comprehensive overview of women's health in relation to income, education, ethnicity and geography. The findings are detailed in the report titled HIV Infection-the 11th chapter to be released as part of the study. Findings can be used by policymakers and health-care providers to improve access, quality and outcomes of care for Ontario women. The POWER Study was funded by Echo: Improving Women's Health in Ontario, an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
"The POWER Study HIV Infection chapter rev
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St. Michael's Hospital