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Experiences of and responses to HIV among African and Caribbean communities in Toronto, Canada.


Qualitative Research, Prejudice, Patient Acceptance of Health Care, Needs Assessment, Male, ethnology, Life Style, Humans, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, psychology, epidemiology, HIV Infections, Female, Cross-Cultural Comparison, Canada, African Continental Ancestry Group, Adult, Adaptation, Psychological

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      African and Caribbean communities in Canada and other developed countries are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. This qualitative study of African and Caribbean communities in Toronto sought to understand HIV-related stigma, discrimination, denial and fear, and the effects of multiple intersecting factors that influence responses to the disease, prevention practices and access to treatment and support services. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 HIV-positive men and women and focus groups were conducted with 74 men and women whose HIV status was negative or unknown. We identified a range of issues faced by African and Caribbean people that may increase the risk for HIV infection, create obstacles to testing and treatment and lead to isolation of HIV-positive people. Our findings suggest the need for greater sensitivity and knowledge on the part of healthcare providers; more culturally specific support services; community development; greater community awareness; and expanded efforts to tackle housing, poverty, racism and settlement issues.

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