An evaluation of an employment assistance program focused on people living with HIV in Toronto, Canada

In this study, researchers looked at the challenges faced by people living with HIV in finding and maintaining jobs. They evaluated a program called Employment Action (EACT), based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which aims to help people living with HIV secure meaningful employment.

What they did:

  • They collected information from two databases:
    • Ontario Community-Based AIDS Service and Evaluation (OCASE), a client records management tool managed by the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN), and
    • an internal database used to report outcomes to the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Government of Ontario.
  • They interviewed 12 individuals who had found paid jobs through EACT to understand their experiences.

What they found from the database:

  • Out of 131 clients included in the analysis, 38.1% (n = 50) were able to maintain their jobs for at least 6 weeks within the first year of joining the EACT program.
  • Factors like gender, ethnicity, age, and first language did not predict whether clients could maintain employment.

What the interviews revealed:

  • The interviews helped identify both the challenges and factors that made EACT’s services effective.
  • The participants recommend:
    • Providing skills training to people living with HIV.
    • Hiring people living with HIV as staff in EACT to assist in motivating clients to gain employment.
    • Keeping in touch with clients even after they found a job to offer continued support.

Why it matters:

  • This study highlights the importance of social programs like EACT in helping people living with HIV find and maintain employment.
  • The findings emphasize the need for better data collection, reaching out to people living with HIV in need of employment support, and careful planning for evaluation before implementing such programs.




Related resources

Work, health, and living with HIV (project)

A qualitative study of barriers to employment experienced by people living with HIV in Toronto and Ottawa

Healthcare system action on employment as a social determinant of health in people living with HIV: A qualitative study

Authors: Melissa Perri, Ayu Pinky Hapsari, Amy Craig-Neil, Julia Ho, Jessica Cattaneo, Mark Gaspar, Charlotte Hunter, Sergio Rueda, Ann N. Burchell, Andrew D. Pinto

Year: 2023