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Inequalities in Determinants of Health Among Aboriginal and Caucasian Persons Living With HIV/AIDS in Ontario: Results From the Positive Spaces, Healthy Places Study
Aboriginal Canadians (i.e., First Nations, Inuit and Métis) are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, and experience greater social and economic marginalization and poorer housing conditions. This study sought to understand the differences in the determinants of health and housing-related characteristics between samples of Aboriginal and Caucasian adults living with HIV/AIDS in Ontario. We analyzed baseline demographic, socio-economic, health, and housing-related data from 521 individuals (79 Aboriginal and 442 Caucasian) living with HIV/AIDS and enrolled in the Positive Spaces, Healthy Places study. We compared the characteristics of Aboriginal and Caucasian participants to identify determinants of health and housing-related characteristics independently associated with Aboriginal ethnicity. Compared to Caucausian participants living with HIV, Aboriginal participants were more likely to be younger, female or transgender women, less educated, unemployed, and homeless or unstably housed. They were also more likely to have low incomes and to have experienced housing-related discrimination. In a multivariate model, gender, income, and experiences of homelessness were independently associated with Aboriginal ethnicity. Aboriginal individuals living with HIV/AIDS in our sample are coping with significantly worse social and economic conditions and are more likely to experience challenging housing situations than a comparison group of Caucasian individuals living with HIV/AIDS. To develop effective care, treatment and support strategies for Aboriginal peoples with HIV, it is critical to address and improve their socio-economic and housing conditions.