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Study Structure

CHIWOS brought together a national, multi-disciplinary research team, drawing expertise and experience from various fields and areas of the country. The primary principal investigators—Drs Mona Loutfy (Ontario), Alexandra de Pokomandy (Quebec), and Angela Kaida (British Columbia)—led the Core Research Team. CHIWOS was advised by the National Steering Committee and by three provincial Community Advisory Boards, supported by administrative staff and provincial coordinators, and implemented by community Peer Research Associates (PRAs).


CHIWOS was run through and supported by Women’s College Research Institute, Simon Fraser University, McGill University Health Centre, Women’s Health in Women’s Hands, the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, the University of British Columbia, and Providence Health Care. The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Ontario HIV Treatment Network, and supported by the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network (CTN 262).

Study Structure

Phases of Research

1) Formative Phase

Before the usage and impact of 'women-centred HIV care' could be assessed, CHIWOS needed to learn how women living with HIV define this care and envision its delivery (Loutfy et al., 2016).

Two sets of focus groups were conducted: one to determine community definitions and perceptions of women-centred HIV care, and one to collect feedback and input on the preliminary survey instrument before its deployment (Abelsohn et al., 2015).

2) National Survey Phase

A total of 1,422 women living with HIV completed a PRA-administered survey at baseline (October 2013 to May 2015). A subsequent wave (Wave 2) began in September 2015 and ended in January 2017; in Wave 2, 1,244 participants completed the second PRA-administered survey, which incorporated some additional topics. Finally, Wave 3 took place from March 2017 to September 2018 with 938 participants.


The study yielded a wealth of critical information that has helped to fill knowledge gaps about women, HIV, and HIV care, and has enabled improvements in the health, care, and wellbeing of women living with HIV across Canada.

3) Data Analysis Phase

Data analysis is ongoing, with more findings reported every year. For a filterable list of publications drawing on CHIWOS data, see our CHIWOS Papers page.

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