Unmet needs of Indigenous peoples living with HIV


Key take-home messages
  • In 2016, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples accounted for 4.9% of the Canadian population but represented 11.3% of all new HIV infections.
  • When considering Indigenous health, conventional approaches to HIV and other communicable diseases are insufficient. Considerable disconnect exists between the priorities of the HIV care cascade and the experiences of Indigenous peoples living with HIV.
  • The lack of coordination between mainstream HIV biomedical approaches and Indigenous worldviews appears to contribute to poor health outcomes. When applied to Indigenous people, both the HIV care cascade and HIV biomedical approaches have to be adapted to ensure they are flexible enough to incorporate the holistic Indigenous approach to well-being, which includes spiritual, emotional, and mental health as well as physical health.
  • Accessing culturally safe care free of stigma and discrimination and self-determination over health care are needs specific to Indigenous peoples. Access to culturally safe care has the potential to improve both prevention and management of HIV among Indigenous peoples.
  • Indigenous worldviews and protocols need to be prioritized in the design, development, testing, and implementation of Indigenous health promotion interventions
  • Education and training of health professionals, culturally specific programs, and increasing the Indigenous health workforce are strategies that could improve cultural competency in health care; however, rigorous evaluation of these strategies is still lacking.


The Ontario HIV Treatment Network: Rapid Response Service




  • Determinants of Health
    • Stigma/discrimination
  • Population(s)
    • Indigenous communities
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Linkage/engagement in care
  • Prevention
    • Biomedical interventions
  • Testing
    • Testing
  • Health Systems
    • Delivery arrangements


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