Unravelling Barriers to Accessing HIV Prevention Services Experienced by African and Caribbean Communities in Canada: Lessons from Toronto

  •  Paulson Amibor    
  •  Ayodeji Ogunrotifa    


Barriers to accessing HIV-prevention services, experienced by African and Caribbean communities in Canada, is an issue warranting sustained research. This study seeks to achieve a better understanding of the nature of HIV-prevention services in Canada, and to explore the dynamics, which underpin barriers to accessing these services confronting African and Caribbean populations in Toronto (Canada). This study also endeavours to assess what is being done to reduce these barriers. Semi-structured qualitative interviews with 7 professionals and community workers who were involved in organizing, researching and delivering HIV-prevention services were conducted for this study. Four themes pertaining to barriers to accessing HIV-prevention services, including, levels of cultural competence and sensitivity among service providers; cultural and social stigma directed at persons living with HIV/AIDS; various social determinants of health, including gender, race and precarious immigration status’; as well as constrained funding resources that are available for service providers; were uncovered in the findings of the study. The paper concludes that several health promotion and health education initiatives exist, which can help reduce these barriers to HIV-prevention service access for these populations. However, in order to ensure their effectiveness there will be much needed involvement from community and other relevant government agencies, which will need to work separately and in conjunction with one another, in order to tackle some of the broader issues that affect these populations.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.