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Year : 2023  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-17

Building More Bridges: Indigenous leadership in a study assessing the impact of distance to care on markers of quality HIV care in Saskatchewan


Correspondence Address:
Dr. Denise Jaworsky

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cjrm.cjrm_3_22

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Introduction: Individuals in rural and remote areas face barriers to chronic disease care, including HIV. Saskatchewan has the highest HIV incidence among Canadian provinces and 35.6% of the population lives outside of an urban centre. In this study, we explored the relationship between distance to HIV care and markers of quality HIV care in Saskatchewan as part of the Canadian Observational HIV Cohort (CANOC). Methods: We used a Two-Eyed Seeing approach and honoured the experience of Indigenous team members living with HIV. The Positive Partnership Score (PPS) was the primary outcome (including frequency of viral load and CD4 measurements, baseline CD4 count, antiretroviral medication regimen and virologic suppression). Multivariable linear regression analysis was performed with distance to care defined in two ways: (1) categorical based on distance from home to HIV specialist care and (2) road distance from CANOC enrolment site. Results: Two hundred and seventy-six individuals were included in the analyses. Living ≤25 km from a visiting HIV specialist (where no HIV specialist lives in the community permanently) and living >100 km from the closest HIV specialist (either visiting or permanent) were both associated with lower PPS compared to living ≤25 km from where an HIV specialist practises permanently. Each 10 km further from the CANOC enrolment site was associated with a 0.01-point reduction (95% CI-0.02, 0, P = 0.024) in PPS. Conclusion: Through a strength-based approach that was grounded in culture, connection, land and Ceremony, we demonstrated how Indigenous people with HIV can play a key role in research. Distance from care was associated with a poorer quality of HIV care in Saskatchewan highlighting the need for better rural HIV care.

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