Who Shares Responsibility for Responding to HIV?

who shares responsibility for responding to HIV?

Hundreds of people and organizations across the country are involved in HIV programs and services. The main players are those who have a specific HIV/AIDS mandate (e.g., ministries of health, community-based AIDS organizations, health care providers and researchers); however, given the social and economic factors that fuel the epidemic, other government departments, individuals and organizations also play a vital role in our response (e.g., human rights organizations, harm reduction and treatment services for people who use injection drugs, mental health services, housing services, settlement services, schools, programs that serve youth and women, international development organizations). To respond to evolving HIV issues and achieve common goals, all must work together.

The federal government is usually responsible for overall health policy and research; the provinces and territories for planning and managing health services; and individual health organizations for delivering health services. Federal funding for health services is usually given to the provinces and territories, who then decide how best to use it to support their programs and priorities.

Roles and Responsibilities

In Canada's response to HIV/AIDS, different actors have different roles:

People living with HIV or at risk of HIV

  • identify the needs that drive services
  • help plan culturally appropriate programs and services that meet their needs
  • provide leadership and run peer-led programs
  • advocate for resources to provide needed services
  • play a key role in preventing the spread of HIV
  • inform all decisions affecting their lives

Local actors

  • work with people living with HIV and people at risk to develop and deliver a wide range of services designed to prevent the spread of HIV, provide treatment and care for people with HIV, and address the broader determinants of health and other factors fuelling the epidemic
  • undertake research on biomedical, psychosocial and epidemiological aspects of HIV/AIDS
  • use new knowledge to develop effective programs and services
  • identify emerging trends and issues
  • advocate for resources to provide needed services
  • work with provincial, territorial and federal partners to develop policies

Provincial/territorial actors

  • monitor the spread of HIV
  • develop HIV policies and priorities
  • fund health and social programs and services
  • monitor the effectiveness of HIV services
  • conduct research
  • ensure equitable access to provincially/territorially funded services

First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and governments

  • identify the needs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people, on and off reserve
  • develop policies and priorities to meet those needs
  • develop culturally appropriate programs and services
  • advocate for resources to provide needed services

National actors

  • provide leadership for the Canadian response to HIV/AIDS
  • develop policies
  • fund research and community-based AIDS prevention initiatives
  • work with relevant stakeholders to identify priorities for research in Canada
  • conduct research and analysis
  • develop resources
  • provide education
  • advocate for change
  • monitor the spread of HIV and disseminate surveillance information
  • ensure equitable access to federally funded services
  • promote coordination among national, provincial and territorial actors
  • negotiate Canada's contribution to the global fight against HIV

Greater collaboration will mean better use of each partner's strengths and resources and, ultimately, better outcomes.