MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Refugee women living in Ontario have higher HIV rates

Refugee women living in Ontario have higher HIV rates
Refugee women living in Ontario have higher HIV rates | Courtesy of
A study that was originally conducted to evaluate serious pregnancy and delivery complications has discovered that refugee women in Ontario have significantly higher rates of HIV than other immigrants or women born in Canada.

According to the study, compared to women born in Canada, refugee women were 34 percent more likely to have serious pregnancy and delivery complications, including severe bleeding after giving birth, blood clots and HIV.

"Taken together, these findings suggest that refugee women did not place increased demand on the health care system at the time of delivery," Susitha Wanigaratne, an epidemiologist at St. Michael's Hospital's Centre for Research on Inner City Health, said.

Refugee women were also rated as 22 percent more likely to experience the above complications than were immigrants.

"The shifts in Canada's refugee policies towards humanitarian needs has meant that more vulnerable populations, such as those with HIV, were able to settle in Ontario,"  Wanigaratne said. "We found that the biggest health differences were in refugees who arrived more recently, after the 2002 immigration policy change."

The largest difference in complications was for HIV/AIDS. Rates for HIV/AIDS stood at eight times more for refugees than for immigrants and 17 times more than for women born in Canada.

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St. Michael's Hospital

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