The AIDS Coalition what to acknowledge the erasure of women from our history as it pertains to HIV activism. Despite often being at the front of many movements, women were left behind as progress was being made and support were being established, as they still are when we consider HIV/AIDS "a gay men's disease." We will continue to work to bring awareness to the importance of a history of HIV activism that includes women and work to support women at risk of and living with HIV.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, in 2011, women represented about one quarter, or 24%, of all new HIV cases. Of those women who tested positive, 77% of the cases were attributed to sex with a male partner. It is true that statistics are helpful in monitoring rates of HIV transmission and prevalence; statistics do not convey the social context in which women live. Women experience unique biological and social factors that may increase their risk of HIV, therefore, when providing prevention services for women, we utilize an approach that takes these unique factors into consideration. Similarly, when providing support for women living with HIV, we use a holistic approach that encompasses an individual woman’s experiences, needs, and desires. It’s impossible to talk about women and HIV and not talk about the diverse issues that affect the conditions in which women live and the choices they make.
Support and Programming
The large majority of the work we already do is open to our female clients and our support programs for those living with HIV apply to any and all genders. Our support groups have historically been gendered in a binary fashion; though they are currently inactive, this is subject to further change. If you would like peer support, we encourage you to contact our support services coordinator, who can be found in the staff directory or below.
We provide HIV/HCV/STI prevention information to women directly through one on one sessions when women drop into our offices or over the phone. We also provide information sessions, workshops and advise on the development of policy for organizations and health-related professionals that serve women. This may take the form of outreach, informational counselling and support, or more formal workshop presentation. We also take part in national sexual health campaigns as a local partner, and we always have free condoms and lube available at our offices for free, no questions asked.
https://whai.ca/resources/ (Resources from the Women and HIV/AIDS Initiative)