Decolonising the HIV Care Cascade: Policy and Funding Recommendations from Indigenous Peoples Living with HIV and AIDS
International Journal of Indigenous Health
Indigenous Peoples in settler colonial nations, like Canada, continue to experience the intergenerational trauma, racism, socioeconomic disadvantages, and pervasive health disparities resulting from centuries of systemic oppression. Among these is the disproportionate burden of HIV in Canada's Indigenous population, coupled with a lack of access to care and services. One method of assessing systems-level gaps is by using the HIV care cascade, whereby individuals are diagnosed, antiretroviral
... , antiretroviral treatment is initiated, and viral suppression is achieved and maintained. The cascade, as it stands today, does not yield positive outcomes for Indigenous Peoples living with HIV. In order to close existing gaps, the authors sought to decolonise the HIV care cascade by rooting it in funding and policy recommendations provided directly by Indigenous Peoples living with HIV. This research presents 29 recommendations that arose when First Nations participants living with HIV partook in traditional storytelling interviews to share their life's journey and offer suggestions for improving access to care and services. Said recommendations are to localize testing and diagnosis (while upholding confidentiality), improve access to culturally-appropriate care and services, provide targeted programming for Indigenous women and heterosexual men, and increase funding for provincial disability benefits; important steps in decolonising the HIV care cascade.