Toronto, Canada's Globe and Mail on Friday examined the challenges facing HIV-positive recent immigrants in Toronto and the ways in which they receive support.
In 2005, 19% of new HIV cases in Toronto occurred among people born in countries with endemic HIV, according to the Globe and Mail. About 20% to 50% of new cases among immigrants occur after they arrive in Canada, Robert Remis, a researcher at the University of Toronto, said.
Many immigrants often do not seek medical care or get tested for HIV because of cultural taboos, fear of discrimination or deportation and the stigma associated with HIV, according to health workers.
In addition, immigrants who have just arrived are more vulnerable to HIV because of social and economic factors such as poverty and language barriers, which make access to prevention and treatment programs more difficult, the Globe and Mail reports.
To address the issue, community groups in Toronto are adapting their prevention programs to immigrants' needs and are fostering partnerships with groups in African and Caribbean countries to gain a better understanding of the communities' needs, help immigrants seek treatment and prevent the spread of the disease in Canada. For example, the African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario has created the Strategy for Life campaign, which seeks to raise awareness about the disease among immigrants in Ontario and provides prevention guidelines for health workers