Food insecurity and HIV/AIDS closely linked


February 18th, 2015

In a Quebec study* based on a sample of 319 people living with HIV, 58% of respondents reported living with food insecurity. That’s seven times higher than the provincial rate.

Whether it’s due to financial difficulty, physical limitations, or exclusion resulting from stigmatization, households affected by HIV can have a hard time maintaining a healthy, balanced diet (due to access to food, quality and diversity of food, etc.).

Food security on its own affects both physical and mental health, and can have a negative impact on quality of life. In addition, according to some data, by aggravating situations of vulnerability and inequality, a lack of food security can play a role in increasing the risk of HIV transmission, limit access to treatment and care, and is also associated with negative health outcomes for individuals on antiretroviral therapy.

While the negative relationship between food insecurity and HIV is easy to spot, it remains difficult to say whether food insecurity is a cause or effect of HIV.

* “Impact of Food Security on Health Outcomes in People Living with HIV/AIDS Across Canada” Community research carried out in 2013 in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec

Source (French only):


A rooming house for HIV-positive people over 50


Maison d’Hérelle
February 18th, 2015

The Maison d’Hérelle is celebrating its 25th birthday with a gift for people living with HIV/AIDS: they are opening new rooms specifically for people over 50 years old who are living with HIV.

When the Maison d’Hérelle opened its doors on May 8, 1990, its primary purpose was to offer temporary housing for respite and palliative care. With the arrival of more advanced treatments though, the face of the epidemic has changed: HIV has become a chronic disease. People living with HIV can now expect to have nearly normal life expectancies, which has resulted in a much higher proportion of people 50 and over living with the disease.

Yet services for seniors have not adapted to this new reality. That’s what inspired the Maison d’Hérelle to take action, creating a permanent housing facility for aging but independent people living with HIV. The new space can accommodate up to eight tenants, who will receive community support to assist with activities of daily living.

For more information on this new resource, contact Jean-Marc, care coordinator, at 514-844-4874, ext. 102.


March 8: Celebrating women!


February 18th, 2015

Every year on March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s a date which is symbolic of the fight for gender equality, and an occasion to recognize all those men and women who have contributed to the advancement of women’s rights. It’s also a time, even in 2015, to call for change.

Gender inequality and HIV/AIDS

Throughout the world, nearly the same number of women as men are afflicted with HIV. But behind these statistics hide a number of differences. Some are biological, making women more susceptible to contracting HIV than men. For the most part though, differences stem from gender-based socio-economic inequality. Certain societal norms like polygamy, lack of access to education and employment, and financial dependence converge to ensure that women are significantly more vulnerable to HIV than men.

A better understanding of how social factors play into the epidemic – for women and men – has made it clear that we need to attack these root causes of the disease. Education, access to employment, income level, access to healthcare and social services, etc. are all key issues to be addressed in the response to HIV. The same holds true for improving women’s rights around the world, from combating sexual violence, to fighting the imbalance of power in male/female relationships.


Prevalence and incidence



February 18th, 2015

Prevalence is a measurement of the state of health of a population within a particular period of time. For a given disease, it is calculated by referring to the targeted population the number of cases of disease known at a given time within this population. Prevalence is a proportion generally expressed as a percentage.

Prevalence should not be confused with incidence. Incidence only takes into account the number of new cases per year, while prevalence is based on the total number of cases present, i.e., those already present, plus those that are incidental. Thus, prevalence is always superior to incidence.

MALI: Gundo-So – The circle of trust


– MALI –
February 18th, 2015

© Harandane DICKO for the Fondation de France

Malian women living with HIV are at particular risk of stigmatization, divorce, repudiation, having their children taken from them, or simply being abandoned. This is because they are often completely dependent on their husbands, both economically and socially. In this context, the decision of whether or not to disclose their HIV positive status can be a dangerous one which can carry serious consequences. The circle of trust, or Gundo-So in Bambara, is a community program created specifically for these women, to give them the tools to make smart, well-thought-out decisions on the subject.

The program involves an assessment interview, as well as ten weekly meetings and an optional group session. Many of the tools used are distinctly born of Malian culture, from stones to estimate the weight of the secret, to wooden sticks to measure the pros and cons of disclosure, etc. Testimonials from women who’ve been through the program make it clear: the impact has been very positive. The program was launched in 2010 by ARCAD-SIDA (the Malian member of Coalition PLUS), and has been implemented in six centres in Bamako, and one in the Kayes region, in the west of the country.

Learn more about Gundo-So