Despite access to health care and medications, people with HIV in Ontario still dying at higher rates than general population

People who are living with HIV in Ontario have access to good health care and medications, yet they are still dying younger and at substantially higher rates than the rest of the population, according to a new study published today.

The findings suggest that the overall well-being of these people is being negatively impacted by the social determinants of health–non-medical or non-genetic factors such as income, job status, education, housing and incarceration, according to the study in the journal AIDS and Behaviour.

Led by Dr. Sean Rourke, a neuropsychologist at St. Michael’s Hospital and scientist at its Centre for Urban Health Solutions, researchers followed 602 people with HIV recruited from community-based agencies for five years. People with HIV conducted peer-to-peer interviews with other HIV-positive people and then verified who was still alive at one, three and five years, using information, if necessary, obtained from relatives, partners, friends, obituaries and local AIDS memorial lists.

Of the 454 people whose mortality the researchers were able to confirm at the end of the study, 53 had died, which is the equivalent of 22.3 deaths per 100,000 people, substantially higher than the rate in the general population of 6.7 per 100,000 people. Seventy-three per cent of those who died were under 50.

People outside of Toronto died at even higher rates, especially in northern Ontario. (59 per cent outside the Greater Toronto area vs. 42 per cent inside the GTA.)

The study was dedicated to six peer-to-peer researchers…

New report finds ‘critical and alarming gap’ in high quality, comprehensive and inclusive data for urban Indigenous populations in Canada

More than one-quarter of Indigenous adults living in Toronto have had a close friend or relative disappear or go missing, according to a comprehensive new report on the health and health-care needs of Indigenous people in Canada’s largest city.

Yet 18 per cent of those missing people were never reported to police, according to the report, Our Health Counts Toronto, released today.

The report also found that one in 10 Indigenous adults in Toronto have had to file a missing person’s report with police for a child or relative and one in three have had a close friend or relative die as a result of violence caused by another person.

Our Health Counts Toronto is the largest urban Indigenous population health study in Canada. The research was conducted by Indigenous people for Indigenous people, said project lead Dr. Janet Smylie, a researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital and one of the first Métis physicians in Canada…