HIV in Canada: A primer for service providers

Access to Healthcare

Key Points

  • Individual and system (or structural) level barriers impede access to healthcare.

Research suggests that some people living with HIV have problems accessing and navigating the healthcare system because of individual-level barriers due to personal circumstances (e.g., financial, mental health), as well as systems-level or structural barriers (e.g., geography, stigma, clinic hours).

These barriers can negatively impact the ability of some people to access healthcare. For example, refugees may experience systemic-level barriers in the form of lack of access to provincial healthcare coverage. People who use drugs may experience both individual- and systemic-level barriers in the form of mental illness, stigma and discrimination, and lack of providers experienced in the care of this population.

The ability to access healthcare may also depend on where you live in Canada. For example, people in rural communities may have fewer services available to them and may need more travel time or assistance to access healthcare services.


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