The project idea originated when it was observed that women living with HIV accessing emergency shelter services had gaps in antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment adherence. Adherence is essential to the maintenance of health among HIV-positive people and decreased risk of transmission to sexual and drug use partners. In BC, HIV-positive women exhibit significantly lower adherence to ART than men even when known confounders, such as injection drug use, are controlled for. This study would qualitatively explore suboptimal adherence to ART among women by using community-based participatory research involving focus groups, open-ended interviews, and innovative methods such as digital storytelling. This funding will be used to hire a peer research assistant who will be integral to the project, assisting with the development of topic guides, conducting the research with women, analyzing the data and disseminating the new knowledge. Knowledge gained will identify womenâ€™s barriers to adherence and be used to develop women-specific services to support individual and community-wide health.
Research Team: Cathy Puskas, Phd Student; Elysia Bourne, Atira