Characteristics of People Living With HIV Who Use Community-Based Services in Ontario, Canada: Implications for Service Providers
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Community-based AIDS service organizations (CBAOs) direct services to multiple-needs people living with HIV/AIDS who are less likely to use mainstream health promotion services. As people live longer with HIV, the potential to enhance quality of life increases, yet little is known about who uses CBAOs or how this use affects other health and social services. This study of people living with AIDS in Ontario, Canada (n = 297) examined the demographic and health-related characteristics of people with AIDS who do and do not use CBAOs and their patterns of mainstream service utilization. It found that users of CBAOs were significantly less healthy, less able to sustain normal activities, and more often depressed. They reported physical disabilities significantly more often. Their quality of life was also lower along certain dimensions. They were significantly poorer and more reliant on government income supports. They consumed significantly more nonhospital health and social services and had significantly higher out-of-pocket costs. These results suggest CBAOs are being accessed appropriately by those most vulnerable. In an effort to strengthen CBAO capacity to recognize and address depression and physical health problems prevalent among their clients, links to other mainstream health promotion and social services is recommended.
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