(RxWiki News) Despite significant headway in HIV care and prevention, women account for 25 percent of new HIV cases in Ontario, Canada. Of these newly infected women, 93 percent acquired HIV by sexual contact. Additionally, 60 percent of these new female cases are immigrants.
These findings are based on the Project for an Ontario Women's Health Evidence-Based Report (POWER).
"HIV at-risk female populations need better screening and access to early care services."
Dr. Ahmed Bayoumi, lead author on the chapter and a physician at St. Michael's Hospital reports real progress in preventing HIV and treating people with HIV has been made. Emerging evidence suggests new at risk socio-economically disadvantaged groups are identified: Aboriginal women, older women and women who have immigrated from countries where HIV is widespread.
Bayoumi further identifyied at-risk groups including poor women and injectable drug using women. These findings will help physicians target and deliver high-quality HIV care in Ontario.
Dr. Arlene Bierman, a physician at St. Michael's Hospital and principal investigator of the study observes that high rates of prenatal HIV screening are imperative with these newly identified at-risk groups. Programs are needed to screen at risk women. When HIV is identified in a patient, prompt care is essential.
Bierman continues advocating for more prenatal HIV screening as programs can be developed for pregnant, HIV positive women. If they receive antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy, it can prevent transmission to her unborn baby.
Some other key findings in the POWER report include women:
- Lower rates of condom use.
- Women engage in riskier behavior with injectable drugs.
- 90 percent of HIV-positive women who are pregnant are currently receiving antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy.