HIV prevalence and testing among street-involved youth in Ontario
Key take-home messages
- Although the evidence about rates of HIV transmission among street-involved youth is unclear, this group is at risk of sexually transmitted bloodborne infections due to factors such as their age, socioeconomic status, housing status and engagement in higher risk behaviours.
- There is limited evidence about HIV prevalence among street-involved youth in Ontario. However, HIV prevalence within Canadian street-involved youth ranges from 0.2% to 1.9%, and within Ontario new diagnoses of HIV among this group remain low compared to other risk groups such as men who have sex with men and people from HIV endemic countries.
- HIV-positive street youth tend to be: older, male, have sex with other men, inject drugs, take part in sex work and non-Caucasian. HIV prevalence rates are also substantially higher among Aboriginal youth.
- HIV risk behaviours of Canadian street-involved youth can be grouped into three main categories: homelessness, sexual risk behaviours and injection drug use.
- We did not find any peer-reviewed literature on testing interventions for street-involved youth in Canada; however some interventions conducted in the US demonstrate that youth preferred to get their testing results over the phone rather than face to face, and that peer supported case management models can help attract more youth to testing, and link them to ongoing health care.
The Ontario HIV Treatment Network: Rapid Response Service
- Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
- Determinants of Health
- Children or Youth (less than 18 years old)
- General HIV+ population
- General HIV- population
- Substance Use
- Nonmedicinal drugs