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While migration can create positive opportunities for individuals, it often creates conditions and circumstances that intensify risk and vulnerability to HIV and other communicable disease (e.g., separation from family, presence or absence of social networks in the country of destination, extreme stress, lower socio-economic status, reduced access to harm reduction and HIV prevention, treatment and care services). For these reasons newcomers represent a hidden at-risk population whose health and social care needs require further exploration to prevent new infection, reduce vulnerability, and mitigate the impact of HIV, HIV related co-infections, and other communicable disease.

With an increasingly diverse population of newcomers and the migration of newcomers across regions and jurisdictions throughout Canada, there is a need for a national forum for the sharing of information and program experiences as well as to look beyond the Canadian response and gain transferrable insights from the responses to HIV and newcomer and refugee health taking place in other countries. In light of this need, as part of its support from the National HIV/AIDS Voluntary Sector Response Fund, ICAD has received funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada to:

  1. develop a working group/steering committee on newcomer health. This group will guide the planning and delivery of two national stakeholder meetings;
  2. deliver two meetings on HIV and newcomer and refugee health;
  3. conduct and produce a synthesis of national and international evidence and promising practices in HIV and HIV/TB/HCV/STBBI related prevention, treatment and care programming and delivery models reflective of newcomer diversity. Transferable models and lessons for the Canadian setting will be identified. This synthesis will be the basis of the second meeting.

These activities fall under the NHVSRF Objective “to improve the quality of international and domestic HIV and AIDS programming based on lessons learned and shared from global contexts.”

The expected outputs of the project are:

  • Two comprehensive meeting reports
  • A high-level map of services, barriers, facilitators and key entry points for newcomers into the continuum of HIV/STI/HCV/TB/BBI prevention, testing, treatment and care services in Canada
  • Literature review of international approaches to newcomer and refugee HIV-related services
  • Commentary to be submitted to a scientific journal summarizing the key messages from the meeting(s)